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Recent Reviews
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Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten
by James S. Ketchum, MD
Publisher:
James S. Ketchum, MD 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by Lux
4/29/2007

In addition to providing an important window into the formerly-classified world of US chemical weapons research, Chemical Warfare is a valuable source of information on a plethora of psychoactive compounds, including BZ (QNB), LSD, THC, scopolamine, and atropine. Technical information included in a long Appendix will greatly interest the specialist, particularly toxicologists and pharmacologists. [ read more ]

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Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems
by Andrew Tatarsky, PhD (Editor)
Publisher:
Jason Aronson 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by D. Cameron
4/9/2007

Here we have no more than a collection of case reports on people with alcohol and/or illicit drug problems who have engaged with a number of psychotherapists in the USA. So what’s new – what is this “new treatment for drug and alcohol problems”? What’s new is that these are case studies from the USA where the goal of abstinence and dutiful adherence to the disease concept and 12-step approaches to therapy are not observed. [ read more ]

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The Search for the Manchurian Candidate
by John Marks
Publisher:
W. W. Norton 
Year:
1991 (first edition: 1979) 
Reviewed by Lux
4/2/2007

Journalist John Marks filed a Freedom of Information Act suit against the CIA and received seven boxes of documents pertaining to MKULTRA. The destruction of these records had been ordered by CIA head Richard Helms and MKULTRA director Sidney Gottlieb in 1972, but they were spared through a clerical error. Marks reviewed the heavily-redacted material and supplemented his research with extensive interviews of numerous key figures. The results of his investigation are documented in this book. [ read more ]

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The Cosmic Serpent: DNA & the Origins of Knowledge
by Jeremy Narby
Publisher:
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam 
Year:
1998 
Reviewed by Rendi Case
3/13/2007

One day while inquiring about these matters he was told that if he wanted to know the true answers to his questions he would simply have to take ayahuasca with them and see for himself. Narby accepted this offer and had a life changing experience. After drinking ayahuasca, Narby had a profound life changing experience. His view on himself and reality shifted from an intellectually superior know-it-all to a mere human being that has no real understanding of reality at all. In his experience, these thoughts were telepathically imparted to him by two giant snakes. There was more to his ayahuasca experience, but these are the elements that had the important impact on him. [ read more ]

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Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
by Allan Hunt Badiner & Alex Grey (eds.)
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Myron Stolaroff
3/3/2007

In the recent book Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, a number of the contributors have recognized the value of psychedelics and have pointed out ways in which they can be helpful and of value. While many of the presentations provide deeper understanding of the value and benefits of employing psychedelics, my own experience indicates that there remains room for further understanding and clarification that can provide more effective results. In fact, in some instances it is reported that states are reached when psychedelics are no longer indicated. While in my paper cited above I point out that such a stage can and should be reached, in some of the situations reported the full potential of psychedelics has not been recognized. Very often the desire to abandon further psychedelic exploration is the result of reaching heavily defended areas in the psyche which are quite painful, yet which when resolved result in enormous gains in profound understanding and well being. In other situations, important attributes and methods of enhanced achievement have not be recognized. [ read more ]

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Writing on Drugs
by Sadie Plant
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Year:
1999 
Reviewed by Justin Case and Rendi Case
2/16/2007

I would imagine there are other books that go into more detail on this, but I found Plant’s chapters on the hidden politics of cocaine and heroin to be fascinating. She also goes into some detail about a number of other interesting subtopics related to drugs in history. [ read more ]

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Trialogues at the Edge of the West
by Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna & Rupert Sheldrake
Publisher:
Bear & Company 
Year:
1992 
Reviewed by Justin Case
2/16/2007

Fans of Terence McKenna’s work will not find anything new from him in this book. However, it is interesting to see his peculiar ideas bounced off Abraham and Sheldrake. [ read more ]

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A Scanner Darkly
by Philip K. Dick
Publisher:
Vintage Books 
Year:
1977 
Reviewed by Lux
2/13/2007

In this novel, every important image becomes its own opposite. At the center of the circle, like the ringleader of symbols, is the drug. What is Substance D? We are never told of its effects. I imagine it to be something like a mix of ketamine and methamphetamine. We are told that there are two kinds of people: those who are addicted to Substance D, and those who haven’t tried it. [ read more ]

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The Road to Eleusis
by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, Carl A.P. Ruck
Publisher:
William Daly Rare Books 
Year:
1998 
Reviewed by Lux
2/13/2007

The Road to Eleusis is an entertaining and engaging read. It argues well, but not convincingly. We do not know for certain if hallucinogens were employed in the rites of Eleusis, much less if said hallucinogens were derived from ergot. The authors have made brilliant and sometimes strong arguments on behalf of their theory, but ultimately, and ironically, the conviction that Ruck and Wasson exude persuades the reader against their thesis, for it appears that in this matter there can be no certainty.
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The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art
by David Lewis-Williams
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Mike Jay
1/15/2007

In The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, Lewis-Williams draws on his own previous work, and also that of cognitive psychologists like Heinrich Klüver and Ronald Siegel and anthropologists like Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, who have cumulatively demonstrated that, in altered states, the same visual and sensory phenomena are generated both in the lab and in the field. [ read more ]