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Recent Reviews
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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 ]

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
by Hunter S. Thompson
Publisher:
Random House 
Year:
1971 
Reviewed by Lux
10/17/2007

Hunter S. Thompson’s magnum opus records a semi-fictionalized drug-fueled torpedo ride through the incandescent heart of Las Vegas in search of the American Dream. Ablaze with mescaline, LSD, cannabis, ether – hell, you name it – Thompson’s literary alter-ego Raoul Duke wanders under the bright lights of the strip with his attorney Dr. Gonzo. [ read more ]

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Happy Hours: Alcohol in a Woman's Life
by Devon Jersild
Publisher:
Perennial 
Year:
2001 
Reviewed by Midevil
9/27/2007

Personal accounts, which include the author’s own struggle with her alcoholic sister, are presented alongside statistics that examine race, sex, and class differences, as well as a bibliography and index that provide quite a bit of what a drinking woman (or dry alcoholic) needs to know in order to battle the demon in the bottle. The cover of the paperback is quite appropriate. The title is blurred on top of a black background; below, a lone woman holds a wine glass. [ read more ]

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