Neuropolitics

The "Godfather of Ecstasy," whose name is Alexander Shulgin (though his friends call him Sasha ... and his critics, much worse). Image © Brian Vastag

Ecstacy: The MDMA Story

Bruce Eisner

With large numbers of young people taking illegal drugs, it wasn't long before Parliament had passed a number of increasingly harsh laws against MDMA and against raves themselves. To avoid police harassment, raves moved from traditional nightclub venues to less predictable locations such as empty warehouses and open fields along the "Orbital," the highway encircling London.

Publisher: Ronin
Paperback: 196 pages
Illustrated

Reviews

The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens

Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hoffman

“Newly discovered hallucinogenic plants have been incorporated into the discussions along with new information on some well-known drugs… Initial chapters delineate definition, botanical distribution and structural types of hallucinogenic plants. Plants of known, possible and dubious hallucinogenic potential are then covered in separate sections.”

Publisher: C.C. Thomas
Paperback: 464 pages
Illustrated

The Brain Encyclopedia

Carol Turkington

“Up until the last few years, progress in understanding our 'enchanted loom' had been agonizingly slow, but scientists are now beginning to understand some of the brain's knottiest puzzles: How does the brain actually work? Where does memory reside within the brain? Is our brain separate from, or completely intertwined with, our body? From acetylcholine to white matter, The Brain Encyclopedia takes the reader on a guided tour through the brain, looking at brain diseases and disorders, structure and function. An extensive glossary explains all terms related to neurology, and there is also a detailed index. Appedixes include extensive listings of self-help organizations related to neurological problems, professional organizations and governmental groups.”

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 352 pages

Bread of Dreams

Piero Camporesi

“An illuminating study of the lives and attitudes of peasants in pre-industrial Europe who lived in a state of almost permanent hallucination, drugged by their very hunger or by bread adultered with hallucinogenic herbs. The use of opiate products, administered even to infants and children, was widespread and was linked to a popular mythology in which herbalist and exorcist were important cultural figures.”

Publisher: University of Chicago
Paperback: 212 pages

By Surprise

Henri Michaux

In this uncomfortable and ethereal journal of an unwitting psychedelic trauma Henri Michaux is the paramount stylish dandy; in his shamelessly self-promoting introduction, on the other hand, Allen Ginsberg is the fawning, drooling, tourist oaf. So force yourself to ignore Ginsberg's self-adulation. This unsolicited mortification aside, Michaux truly explores with a surgical intent the pain-filled anguish and courage he experienced in facing the mental near-disintegration and perceptual terror herein disclosed.
By Surprise begins with his arbitrary, languid decision to swallow an unknown drug left with him by a vague acquaintance. We never learn the drug's name or its pharmacological family. We don't need to. If you've ever been spiked, or similarly misled your brain by imbibing the random and surprisingly strong neurological stimulant, then you will comprehend how bizarre, frightening and tedious such a situation can become.
Drug stories are impossibly personal and subjectively vivid. They are probably not intended to lend themselves to everyday vocabulary. The ineffable is speechless. Given all these limitations, Michaux succeeds remarkably well—in particular, in conveying the peak paranoia that “this time he's done it!” and will “never come back” and the inevitable, complementary dislocation and ripping of the entire fabric of time.
This is a decidedly worthwhile addition to drug literature. Brief, clear and honest. In its concise way it covers, in a few dense pages, most of the subjective ground other books dwell on ad nauseam. GPO

Publisher: Hanuman
Paperback: 110 pages

Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties

Jay Courtney Fikes

The author attempts to set the ethnographic record straight, by comparing “true Huichol rituals” (which he studied as an anthropologist living with the Huichol Indians for several years) with what he considers the “counterfeit productions” of Castaneda. He compares his own ethnographic writings with Castaneda's books and finds very few similarities. He says that Castaneda's books are mostly the result of “New Age capitalists competing to meet unmet psychological or religious needs,” but never the result of anthropological research, as Castaneda claims. The author did not find any brujo who could fly over waterfalls, as Don Genaro does in A Separate Reality; and to raise suspicions even more, Castaneda refused to send the author his field notes so that he could analyze them. AF

Publisher: Millenia
Paperback: 283 pages
Illustrated

Changes of Mind: A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness

Jenny Wade

“An extensive body of philosophical research uniting literature from the new physics, brain research, developmental psychology and mysticism producing the first comprehensive theory of individual human consciousness that begins before birth and ends after death. A new-paradigm reality that opens and extends the field of developmental psychology in ways that structure, destructure and then restructure the subjective experience of time, space, subject and object.”

Publisher: SUNY
Paperback: 341 pages
Illustrated

Cocaine: An In-Depth Look at the Facts, Science, History and Future of the World's Most Addictive Drug

John C. Flynn

If you've ever had a problem with cocaine, the opening pages of this book will send shivers through your blood. It starts with a depiction of a “nice yuppie girl” at the hospital—frozen into in a taut convulsing fetal position by a toxic dose of the evil snow queen. Very, very scary. From there it takes a look at the whys and hows of this insidious drug; unlocking the pleasure centers of the brain, triggering postsynaptic neurons; cocaine and sex; and the chemical manufacturing of alternative “pleasure” drugs. One of the best books I've seen on the drug, giving many facts without filler statistics or dry medical terminology, and managing to broach the area of social degradation without being preachy or political. MDH

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 167 pages
Illustrated

The Complete Book of Ecstasy

U.P. Yourspigs

User-friendly and straightforward guide for chemistry-challenged adults to manufacturing underground psychoactive compounds. The particular focus is synthesizing MDMA, but the author throws in some informed opinions on “other highs” as well.

Publisher: Synthesis
Paperback: 90 pages
Illustrated

Consciousness and the Computational Mind

Ray Jackendoff

“An overview of the mental representations invoked by the language, visual and musical faculties. Describes how they are used in perception, production, imagery and thought… exploring how these representations determine the character of conscious awareness, arriving at the 'Intermediate Level Theory' of consciousness.”

Publisher: MIT
Hardback: 356 pages
Illustrated

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Deluxe Marijuana Grower's Insider's Guide: Revised Color Edition

Mel Frank

Includes the history and taxonomy (plant classifications) of cannabis, and discusses the active ingredients unique to this plant, the cultivation and selection of good seeds (“If you like the grass you are smoking, you'll love the grass you grow”), the different strains of marijuana (sativa, indica, kush afghani) and how to trick plants into flowering early by manipulating the amount of light given daily. In the midst of all this information are 64 amazing color photos (with 150 black-and-white photos as well) of some huge plants, some nice indoor and outdoor crops and microscopic close-ups. From seeds to drying the harvest, this is the authoritative informational sourcebook on growing marijuana. DW

Publisher: Red Eye
Paperback: 330 pages
Illustrated