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Recent Reviews
Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon
by Stephan Beyer
University of New Mexico Press 
Reviewed by Erik Davis

Beyer’s book offers broad discussions more than new data or highly focused arguments; despite some arcane and fascinating discussions of magic stones and sex with plant spirits, I suspect that ethnobotanists and anthropologists familiar with the Amazon will find relatively few surprises. But the ant hills of detail are not the point. Singing to the Plants is designed to inform a wider audience–and gently bust some myths–by presenting this almost literally kaleidoscopic phenomenon through a number of distinct lenses: anthropology, ethnobotany, pharmacology, psychology, international law, cultural politics, and magic both crafty and occult. [ read more ]

Nightmare Drugs
by Donald Louria, MD
Donald Louria 
Reviewed by RNA

A lengthy pamphlet could be written concerning the attitudinizing, the lack of documentation, the bias, the plain errors in these chapters, but it would be unfair to a conscientious public servant trying to deal level-headedly with the grave social problem of narcotics addiction. But psychedelics have nothing to do with narcotics addiction. We can only wonder at Dr. Louria’s orientation when he implies that the threat of general hedonism is a problem in the same category. This book is only of value for a knowledge of the context out of which so many of the future attacks on the use of psychedelics will be taken. [ read more ]

Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World
by Tom Feiling
Pegasus Books 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor

This is the first book for Feiling, a British documentary-filmmaker, and it is a rollicking work of muckraking advocacy journalism. He seems to have interviewed numerous people, from heads of state to street-level users and dealers, and everyone in-between. The conversational snippets he includes are elucidating and entertaining. Not really just a book about cocaine, this is a book about the stupidity and corruption that exemplify governance of our modern world, viewed through the lens of the cocaine trade. [ read more ]