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Reviews by David Arnson
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Psychedelic Marine: A Transformational Journey from Afghanistan to the Amazon
by Alex Seymour
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2016 
Reviewed by David Arnson
6/19/2017

...an adeptly written autobiography about a British Marine’s return to the armed services and a subsequent episode of further self-discovery in the Amazon jungles. Now, let’s face it, does the world need yet another book on self-discovery and the ayahuasca experience in South America? To his credit, the author delivers a definitely novel perspective on one man’s journey. He is an engaging writer, and expertly immerses the reader in the moment. [ read more ]

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The Museum Dose: 12 Experiments in Pharmacologically Mediated Aesthetics
by Daniel Tumbleweed
Publisher:
Phoropter Press 
Year:
2015 
Reviewed by David Arnson
5/15/2017

Tumbleweed reports on experiences with 4-Aco-DMT, psilocybin-containing mushrooms, 2C-E, 2-CI, 2-CT-2, 4-HO-MPT, 4-HO-MiPT, 5-MeO-MiPT, TMA-2, 4-HO-DiPT, 4-AcO-DET, and 4-HO-MET. Holy alphabetamine, Batman! Each chapter begins with an art event destination and dosage of the substance that he has taken, and this gentleman proves truly eloquent in conveying the impressions that he receives. [ read more ]

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The Toad and the Jaguar
by Ralph Metzner
Publisher:
Regent Press 
Year:
2013 
Reviewed by David Arnson
4/15/2017

The Toad and the Jaguar is an instant gold standard on current 5-MeO-DMT information. Metzner is to be congratulated on this relatively short but information-dense work, which ties in practical usage, all the possible red flags, and multiple angles of approach to the subject matter. [ read more ]

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Dropping Acid: A Beginner's Guide to the Responsible Use of LSD for Self-Discovery
by Dale Bewan
Publisher:
Self-Published 
Year:
2013 
Reviewed by David Arnson
5/28/2014

The pseudonymous “Dale Bevan” has written a self-published guide for those interested in taking LSD for the first time. It is written in a very thoughtful manner, and, to it’s credit, does not necessarily act as a cheerleading ‘info-mercial’ for use of the substance. What we are given here is a fairly balanced overview of LSD in terms of it’s history, chemistry, and the author’s own experiences with it. [ read more ]

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Adrenochrome & Other Mythical Drugs
by Eduardo Hidalgo Downing
Publisher:
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
Year:
2013 
Reviewed by David Arnson
3/17/2014

Downing smokes some really outlandish “rumored-to-get-you-high” substances—such as spider webs, toothpaste, and butterfly wings—all with a very humorous but still investigatory attitude. He even tests out the noxious concept of “jenkem”, one of the most obvious practical jokes on the Internet, which involves smelling bottled fecal fumes! And I don’t think that it’s too much of a spoiler of the book to reveal that Downing does NOT take battery acid to get high (phew!), although he certainly publishes a ton of Internet literature on this idea. [ read more ]

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The DMT Chronicles: Parmenides, Plato, and the Psychedelic
by Terence Turner
Publisher:
The Translinguistic Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by David Arnson
1/31/2013

Overall this was a fairly interesting but extremely unpolished piece of writing. The numerous journeys on DMT that Turner relates often expand into philosophical reflections. The book is a revision of and expansion on a series of accounts previously posted to an Internet message board. It’s an idiosyncratic and unique account, with the author’s writing style and observations consistently veering back and forth from the awkward to the insightful. I did appreciate that Turner does not proselytize, and I found his honesty to be endearing. [ read more ]

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Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey
by Rak Razam
Publisher:
Icaro Publishing 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Arnson
12/9/2012

Razam does a great job detailing the myriad cast of characters involved in the ayahuasca tourism phenomenon in Peru: from native to gringo shamans, ayahuasqueros to tabaqueros to perfumeros, spiritual to hedonistic “seekers”, and everyone in between. [ read more ]

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Krishna In The Sky With Diamonds: The Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide
by Scott Teitsworth
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2012 
Reviewed by David Arnson
6/20/2012

Krishna In The Sky With Diamonds concentrates on a 55-verse section of the ancient Indian text “The Mahabharata” (chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita), a fascinating sequence that can be read on its own merits, or, as the author meticulously lays it out, as a parallel to an intense psychedelic experience. Teitsworth clearly knows his subject, and ties in his own past psychedelic experiences with insight and honesty. Also woven into the comments are quotes and references from other sources. [ read more ]

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Speed-Speed-Speedfreak: A Fast History of Amphetamine
by Mick Farren
Publisher:
Feral House 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by David Arnson
12/20/2011

With Speed-Speed-Speedfreak: A Fast History of Amphetamine (I’m not sure of the title’s significance; is that like ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’?), he delivers a terrific book on just about every aspect of the notorious substances, amphetamine and methamphetamine. He has some good sections on meth’s manufacture, its relationship to MDMA, and its function and dysfunction in the world of sex. Additionally, the book is full of personal anecdotes from Farren’s career as a British rocker playing in “punk-before-there-was-punk-rock” bands. [ read more ]

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Salvia divinorum: Doorway to Thought-Free Awareness
by J. D. Arthur
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by David Arnson
11/17/2011

Originally published in 2008 under the title Peopled Darkness: Perceptual Transformation through Salvia divinorum, this book is based upon a series of experiences the author had over several years. Arthur is able to bypass the bewildering sensory effects of his initial experiences with an articulate analysis and description of a true “relationship” that he develops with the substance, especially with that of a 5X concentrate. [ read more ]

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