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Recent Reviews
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The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves
by Jean Clottes & David Lewis-Williams
Publisher:
Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 
Year:
1998 
Reviewed by Barnaby Thieme
8/22/2012

Two prominent researchers argue that many European caves are linked to shamanic ritual practice and initiation. At 120 pages, this book is essentially a long essay laying the basis for the authors’ shamanic hypothesis and attempting to ground it in biological terms. While I found their central thesis to be underdeveloped, the authors do an admirable job of surveying the available evidence, providing a valuable analysis of the known art. The book is lavishly illustrated, though the pictures are rarely captioned with date information. [ read more ]

Seven’s descriptions of the effects of using mind machines while on assorted psychoactives are unique to the psychedelic literature. These alone make the book worth reading. Over the course of his tale, Seven reveals himself to be a likeable character—flawed, as we all are, but inspiring in his honest exuberance. [ read more ]

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Confessions of a Dope Dealer
by Sheldon Norberg
Publisher:
North Mountain Publishing 
Year:
1999, 2000 
Reviewed by Fork
8/21/2012

As a bright young suburban kid, Norberg held a typical anti-drug attitude until his early teenage years, when his eldest brother Dave admitted to smoking pot and dropping acid. Initially shocked, Sheldon soon starts experimenting. [...] Although he goes to college, he’s more interested in partying and dealing drugs than attending classes, and he sees himself as a kind of psychedelic guru for those around him. [ read more ]

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Journeys Into the Bright World
by Marcia Moore & Howard Alltounian
Publisher:
Para Research Inc 
Year:
1978 
Reviewed by Fork
8/21/2012

Long before the Shulgins’ alphabetamine love stories appeared on bookstore shelves, Marcia Moore and Howard Alltounian gave us Journeys Into the Bright World, a drug travelogue focused on the transpersonal effects of ketamine. [ read more ]

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A Greater Monster
by David David Katzman
Publisher:
Bedhead Books 
Year:
2011 
Reviewed by David Bey
7/18/2012

[...] author David David Katzman has taken the plunge and produced an exuberantly psychedelic narrative. [ read more ]

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The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning
by Simon G. Powell
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2011 
Reviewed by D. Slattery
7/15/2012

...this reads as a wonder tale, a once-upon-a-time narrative, deeply personal, effervescent tale of the adventures of an enthusiast in a psilocybinetic state of mind. The narrative voice avoids the inflation one sometimes hears in ‘the tale that must be told;’ the story is delivered with a pocketful of wry at every turn. [ read more ]

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Krishna In The Sky With Diamonds: The Bhagavad Gita as Psychedelic Guide
by Scott Teitsworth
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2012 
Reviewed by David Arnson
6/20/2012

Krishna In The Sky With Diamonds concentrates on a 55-verse section of the ancient Indian text “The Mahabharata” (chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita), a fascinating sequence that can be read on its own merits, or, as the author meticulously lays it out, as a parallel to an intense psychedelic experience. Teitsworth clearly knows his subject, and ties in his own past psychedelic experiences with insight and honesty. Also woven into the comments are quotes and references from other sources. [ read more ]

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Trance Formation: The Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Global Rave Culture
by Robin Sylvan
Publisher:
Routledge 
Year:
2005 
Reviewed by David Bey
6/19/2012

Sylvan’s aim is to posit the power of rave culture as being globally transformative; however, he seems to think that the mere experience of universal connection is sufficient so far as positive political action goes. Missing also is the critique of rave culture as merely being part of what Herbert Marcuse called repressive desublimation: the blowing off of steam that serves in the long run to cement social norms. In the end, anyone in contemporary culture believing that the best way to enrich your soul is to lose your mind, and that the best means for doing that is through the exuberance of the body, is going to be fighting an uphill battle for legitimacy. In the struggle to honor and dignify this style of worship, Trance Formation is a solid resource. [ read more ]

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
Publisher:
The New Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
5/30/2012

...a major work that definitively documents the racism inherent in the domestic application of the United States’ war on drugs. The historical comparison to the Jim Crow era of entrenched legal discrimination and the contemporary evidence of structural racism in all things police and prison-related are incontrovertible… [ read more ]

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To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War
by John Gibler
Publisher:
City Lights Publishers 
Year:
2011 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
4/17/2012

Americans seem to pay little attention to the ongoing “drug war” in Mexico in which some 65,000+ people have died. The prevailing assumption is that this is either a turf war between rival cartels, or a war between the forces of the state (primarily the Mexican drug police and the military) and the traffickers. John Gibler’s To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War offers a competing explanation. [ read more ]