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Recent Reviews
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Demons Discrimination and Dollars: A Brief History of the Origins of American Drug Policy
by David Bearman, MD
Publisher:
Prosperity Press 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by David Arnson
1/30/2010

This book is based on a college course, and is presented in an informal, basic and easy-to-read format. I highly recommend it for the vast spectrum of relevant and interesting facts on the past and present history of the United States’ relationship with controlled substances. The big problem with the book is not the facts or subject material, but the shoddy presentation in terms of punctuation, typos, etc. [ read more ]

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LSD: The Highway to Mental Health
by Milan Hausner with Erna Segal
Publisher:
ASC Books 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D.
12/21/2009

What happened to LSD psychotherapy in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) after Stan Grof came to the United States? This book describes the work of Dr. Milan Hausner, Medical Director of a psychiatric clinic in Sadská, near Prague, who supervised over 3,000 therapeutic LSD sessions from 1954 to 1980. [ read more ]

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Delusions of Normality: Sanity, Drugs, Sex, Money and Belief in America
by J.P. Harpignies
Publisher:
Cool Grove Press 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Erik Davis
12/7/2009

Delusions of Normality is one of those gifts that does a lot of heavy lifting for you—now you don’t have to read all the newspapers, books, and sociological sources Harpignies uses to gather facts, or at least patterns, that deconstruct mainstream assumptions about the depth and breadth of kinkiness or graft or drug gobbling in American life. [ read more ]

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Weekends at Bellevue
by Julie Holland, MD
Publisher:
Bantam 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
12/1/2009

Weekends at Bellevue is the story of a cocky young doctor transformed into a thoughtful caregiver. Through understanding her own mental foibles, Holland becomes better equipped to deal with the issues of her psych patients. People fascinated by the ways in which the mind works, and how it can go off track, will greatly enjoy reading her tale. [ read more ]

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The Globalisation of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit
by Bruce K. Alexander
Publisher:
Oxford University Press 
Year:
2008 
Reviewed by Bruce Sewick
11/25/2009

The solution to addiction must be addressed through a transformation of society from one whose legal (and illegal) addictions are fueled by a free market philosophy to a society that recognizes the importance of meaningful psychosocial integration. The author outlines how this can be done politically, academically, and religiously.
read more ]

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Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine, an Autobiography
by Huston Smith, with Jeffery Paine
Publisher:
HarperCollins 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D.
10/29/2009

Huston Smith tracks his nearly ninety-year journey, which he divides into a horizontal, secular dimension and a vertical, sacred dimension. The first is a feet-on-the-ground report of adventures on earth; the second reports on his head and heart as they explore spiritual geography and time. [ read more ]

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Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Publisher:
Penguin/Riverside Books 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D.
10/29/2009

Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s search takes her to research anecdotes on mystical experiences and their transformation of people’s lives, unusual healing, genetics, psychedelic drugs with special emphasis on the Native American Church’s use of peyote, and the psilocybin experiments of the Roland Griffiths team at Johns Hopkins. Two odd omissions: the author cites neither Huston Smith’s Cleansing the Doors of Perception nor One Nation Under God: The Triumph of the Native American Church (co-edited by Smith and Reuben Snake), and fails to mention Ralph Hood’s Mysticism Scale and its years of use.
read more ]

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Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain
by Andy Roberts
Publisher:
Marshall Cavendish 
Year:
2008 
Reviewed by Arran Frood
10/14/2009

Much has been written about Leary and his compatriots, but Albion Dreaming retains a gritty UK perspective. From the still-secret experiments conducted at Britain’s military research establishment at Porton Down, to Ronald Sandison, a doctor who opened the world’s first specialized LSD psychotherapy unit at Powick Hospital in Worcestershire in 1952, the author packs the pages with a riotous selection of well-sourced anecdotes. [ read more ]

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Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound
by Paul Drummond
Publisher:
Process 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by David Arnson
9/9/2009

...An unforgettable read about an unforgettable time. Regardless of your taste for their music, this is an invaluable account of not only a seminal American band, but of the very roots of the psychedelic counter-culture itself. The book is full of priceless anecdotes on what it was like to be a head in the then-hostile Texas environment, as well as insights into the West Coast musical and cultural scenes. Innumerable punk, new wave, and psychedelic bands have counted the 13th Floor Elevators as an influence. [ read more ]

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The Atmosphere of Heaven: The Unnatural Experiments of Dr Beddoes and his Sons of Genius
by Mike Jay
Publisher:
Yale University Press 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Dale Pendell
9/8/2009

Mike Jay, in The Atmosphere of Heaven, explores the golden age of gentleman amateurs—the years prior to and following the French Revolution—through the life of Dr. Thomas Beddoes, the founder of the Medical Pneumatic Institution, which was dedicated to the alleviation of suffering through the new possibilities of chemical medicine, and in particular, “factitious airs”, the newly isolated gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. [ read more ]

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