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Recent Reviews
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Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery
by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Publisher:
DC Comics 
Year:
1996 / 2012 
Reviewed by David Bey
9/12/2013

Don’t let the leopard-print short-shorts fool you! Four-part comic book miniseries Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery (reprinted at long last in a handsome hardcover “deluxe” edition) is one of the most sophisticated representations of a drug trip ever written or drawn. [...] At the same time in an alternate reality, an unnamed rock singer is dying of a drug overdose in the rain. He’s taken everything in the house, including quite a bit of LSD, and he’s talking on a mobile phone to the unseen voice on the other end of a suicide prevention hotline. All he wants to talk about are comic books. [ read more ]

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High Price
by Carl Hart
Publisher:
Harper 
Year:
2013 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
8/15/2013

High Price is an autobiography of research scientist and drug expert Carl Hart, Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, and Director of the Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The problems Hart describes in his upbringing and environment spring mainly from racism and poverty, often erroneously attributed to drugs. A much larger role then the effects of any drugs were the effect of the criminal justice system… [ read more ]

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Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational, and Scientific
by Martin A. Lee
Publisher:
Scribner 
Year:
2012 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
7/31/2013

Smoke Signals is a brilliant chronicle of the insanity of US drug policy, later foisted on the rest of the world, through the example of the healing green bud. A cover blurb from Douglas Brinkely suggests, “Every American should read this landmark book!”, and he is right. [ read more ]

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Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD
by Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller
Publisher:
Synergetic Press 
Year:
2013 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
6/13/2013

One would expect that there’d be a lot to say about any centenarian, and this is even more the case with an individual as exceptional and influential as Albert Hofmann. Since Albert Hofmann’s story began 107 years ago, Dieter and Lucius then take us back in time, setting the stage by describing the beginnings of the Modern Era, when the industrial revolution, capitalism, and technological innovations were booming. [ read more ]

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The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
by Irving Kirsch
Publisher:
Basic Books 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
5/21/2013

In this concise and persuasive book, Kirsch debunks what he calls the myth of antidepressants and the brain chemistry imbalance theory of depression. Kirsch. is [...] an expert on placebo effects. Kirsch and colleagues found that antidepressants worked only very slightly better for treating depression than placebos did. [ read more ]

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Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon
by Stephan V. Beyer
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by John Harrison
5/2/2013

What would you say to the possibility of a riveting, yet thoroughly academic, nonfiction page-turner? Stephan V. Beyer’s tour de force, Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, is nothing less! It is when talking about his teachers that Beyer is most revealed as a humble and thoughtful human being. [ read more ]

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American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan
by Peter Dale Scott
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
4/25/2013

There are certain books that, once read, alter one’s mind permanently. This is such a book. Naïve readers and patriots beware: You will never think about the world in the same way after you have read just the first two chapters of American War Machine. The book’s major thesis, simply put, is that: “US backdoor covert foreign policy has been the largest single cause of the illicit drugs flooding the world today.” [ read more ]

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LSD: Doorway to the Numinous
by Stanislav Grof
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Bey
3/21/2013

By the 1975 publication of Realms of the Human Unconscious, Stanislav Grof was prepared to assert the existence of “a vastly extended cartography of the human psyche” including two new realms whose non-existence were central to the (even now) prevailing scientific worldview: the perinatal––relating to the experience of embryogenesis and birth––and the transpersonal––relating to experiences of the synchronistic, telepathic, karmic, or otherwise out-of-body variety. [ read more ]

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Nexus: Mankind Gets and Upgrade
by Ramez Naam
Publisher:
Angry Robot 
Year:
2012 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
2/20/2013

A mere twenty-seven years in the future, forbidden pharmaceuticals fused with novel nanotechnology may present the post-human possibility of telepathic transcendence. But at what price? [ 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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