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Recent Reviews
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Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom
by Andy Lechter
Publisher:
HarperCollins 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by Lux
6/4/2008

Among books on psychoactive mushrooms, Shroom is unprecedented in the degree to which the author demands that arguments be supported by evidence. No brief review can do justice to the rich detail and close analysis that Letcher offers. This is an essential book on the subject, and an important step forward in the evolution of how we talk about the history of entheogens. [ read more ]

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[Vol. I] Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances As Treatments
by Michael J. Winkelman & Thomas B. Roberts (Eds.)
Publisher:
Praeger 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by Bruce Sewick
5/26/2008

This book will go a long way in providing balance in order to critically weigh information both favorable and critical of psychedelic substances. Despite political pressure, psychedelics are here to stay and current research cited supports the premise that there can be medical applications under controlled conditions. Even critics may find it difficult to deny use of these substances to those with psychological diagnoses resistant to treatment (e.g. PTSD) and those who suffer from chronic and intractable disease, such as cancer. Furthermore, the unsuccessful treatment of the social diseases of our times (i.e. addictions) opens the door to such an alternative treatment modality. [ read more ]

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O Uso Ritual da Ayahuasca (The Ritual Use of Ayahuasca)
by Beatriz Caiuby Labate and Wladimyr Sena Ara├║jo (Eds.)
Publisher:
Mercado de Letras 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Mauricio Fiore / Translation by Robin M. Wright
5/26/2008

Controversies and debates that involve different scientific disciplines, religious dogmas and legal concepts make ayahuasca and its consumption a rich topic, which the book by Labate and Araújo develops into three groups of articles: the first deals with the indigenous or “native” use of the beverage, dialoguing directly with Ethnology; the second goes through the different sects in which the beverage plays a central role, such as the Santo Daime and the União do Vegetal; and a final set of articles considers the pharmacological and psychological aspects of ayahuasca. [ read more ]

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Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances As Treatments
by Michael J. Winkelman & Thomas B. Roberts (Eds.)
Publisher:
Praeger 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by R. S. Kowalczyk
4/10/2008

This two-volume treatise serves a useful purpose not only in providing an update on the limited number of hallucinogenic drugs that already have some therapeutic application (based on relatively limited research), but also by covering the history of these mind-altering drugs and the cultural, social, political, legal, economic, and ethical factors that have encumbered research on these compounds. Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. [ read more ]

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The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience
by Benny Shanon
Publisher:
Oxford University Press 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts
3/30/2008

This is the first professional study of ayahuasca from the perspective of cognitive psychology, and so far as I know, it is the most academically sophisticated example of how the cognitive sciences might approach other diverse mindbody states too. In data collection, detailed interpretation, and theoretical grounding, Antipodes sets a standard that future cognitive psychologists will strive to live up to. [ read more ]

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Psychoses
by Poison I.V.
Publisher:
Zing 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by Adolfo
1/22/2008

In this self-published book, Poison I.V., one of the many aliases of the online mini-celebrity, records her long and winding trip from her first time to near-death experiences and back to sobriety. While many people have disapproved of her attitude in the past, this collection of experiences is well worth the read, and the message is positive. [...] The collection also spans a wide variety of substances including most psychedelics. The book chronicles the author’s love affair with methamphetamine, and the detriments to her health she suffered because of it (hospital visits, etc.). [ read more ]

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Hofmann's Potion
by Connie Littlefield (Director), Kent Martin (Producer)
Publisher:
National Film Board of Canada 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts
1/8/2008

With its all-star cast – Albert Hofmann, Stanislav Grof, Laura Huxley, Humphry Osmond, Abram Hoffer, Myron Stolaroff, Duncan Blewett, Ram Dass, and Ralph Metzner—Director Connie Littlefield’s Hofmann’s Potion chronicles and demystifies major psychedelic events of the 50s, 60s, and 70. The film is well-composed, both in content and artistically. Beautiful shots of the prairie, water reflecting light, and other nature scenes raise the tape to an artistic step above the usual documentary. [ read more ]

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DMT: The Spirit Molecule
by Rick Strassman, M.D.
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2001 
Reviewed by Lux
12/10/2007

... [T]he shadow side of this book’s legacy is that it has helped create a state of confusion among its readership. Strassman’s outstanding work is marred by unsubstantiated speculation regarding possible connections between meditation, death and dying, the pineal gland, endogenous DMT, and quantum mechanics. [ read more ]

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Roll Away the Stone: An Introduction to Aleister Crowley's Essays on the Psychology of Hashish
by Israel Regardie
Publisher:
Newcastle 
Year:
1994 
Reviewed by Rendi Case
11/29/2007

The Herb Dangerous series is comprised of four distinct works by four different authors. They are collected here under one cover, along with a 65-page introduction by Israel Regardie, who was one of Crowley’s best students and widely considered to be one of the twentieth century’s most important occult authors. [...] I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the relationship between psychoactives and the mystical or religious experience… [ read more ]

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Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness
by Giorgio Samorini
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2002 English-language edition 
Reviewed by Lux
11/1/2007

This book is particularly memorable for its many wonderful accounts of animal intoxication. Despite the title, most of the cases that Samorini recounts do not involve psychedelics, though he does describe some greedy goats refusing to share Psilocybe mushrooms. Like Jonathan Ott in Pharmacophilia, Samorini contends that intoxication is natural. It is an instinctual drive commonly found in many animal species, and not the debased artifact of corrupt human society that it is commonly believed to be. [ read more ]