Going Into Darkness: Fantastic Coffins From Africa

Thierry Secretan

Pictorial essay on the works of African coffin maker Kane Kwei and his cousin and onetime apprentice, Paa Joe. They specialize in a most unique type of coffin which bears the characteristics of the newly deceased. These coffins are a reflection of the dead person’s occupation: a fish coffin for a fisherman, a lion coffin for a hunter, etc. The folk art of coffin building by the people known as the Ga (a dominant ethnic group from the Accra region in Africa) began around 1904 with Ata Owoo, who founded the business. After his death in 1976, the business was carried on by Kane Kwei. The reader sees the step-by-step creation of these ornate, wooden coffins, beginning alongside the death bed and ending when they are buried. Each coffin is hand-crafted and beautifully painted, and can take the shape of anything from an eagle to a Mercedes-Benz (for a car salesman). Some have even been commissioned by art galleries and private art collectors. Many color photos document these creations and the elaborate funeral ceremonies of Accra. DW

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 128 pages

Nomads of Western Tibet: The Survival of a Way of Life

Melvyn C. Goldsmith and Cynthia M. Beall

A deep look into the harsh existence of the nomads of western Tibet. Some of the world’s most extreme climate can be found here, where tempertures can reach more than 100 degrees in summer and 15 to 30 degrees below zero on winter evenings. The nomadic way of life began about 10,000 years ago and has changed very little since. The nomads live in mobile tents, raise livestock and use or sell their by-products for survival. They migrate constantly to greener pastures, for the livestock rely solely on pastures of indigenous vegetation for food; hence the term “pastoralism” to describe the nomads’ way of life. The nomads collect skins and fleeces from yaks and sheep for wool and cashmere then travel to the marketplace to sell or trade for food and other necessities. The authors spent time living with the nomads, accompanying them on their journeys from home camp to pasture to marketplace and on hunting excursions. The data collected about the nomads of the Pala district “credit the nomads’ traditional pastoral system with maintaining the sensitive ecological balance necessary to guarantee its perpetuation for countless centuries.” Many color photos. DW

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 200 pages

Danse Macabre to the Hardcore Works

Kiyotaka Tsurisaki

A three-year photographic study of death in South America, Southeast Asia and Russia. This book begins with a grim Russian death scene. The deceased woman has multiple wounds or burns on her face and black dried blood on her mouth—a candle, coffee cup and clock sit on an old, beat-up nightstand—very bleak. Other shots include: cracked heads, cemeteries, dead children, maggots, autopsy photos, gunshot victims, a severed arm holding a chrome strip from the car that severed it and more. All color photos on black paper. DW

Publisher: NG
Hardback: 125 pages

Art and Symbols of the Occult: Images of Power and Wisdom

James Wasserman

Aleister Crowley defines magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur at will.” A complex book on the art and symbols of the occult and their meanings. Many beautiful color reproductions of famous mystical diagrams such as the alchemical tree of life, Buddhist assembly tree, and the Equinox emblem, the official organ of the A:A magical order founded by Crowley and George C. Jones in 1907. The book also attempts to explain the not-so-brief history of the occult. DW

Publisher: Destiny
Paperback: 128 pages

Vampire: The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead

Manuela Dunn Mascetti

“Drawing upon dark myths and legends culled from a variety of cultures and gathered over thousands of years, Vampire is a fascinating compendium of cautionary tales and hearsay, of written chronicles and firsthand encounters with the black angels that stalk the Earth in the dead of night. Mascetti reveals the secret rituals, spells and habits of these fiends; records their physical attributes, including the gruesome transformation from human to supernatural being; and catalogs the obsessions and desires that possess them. In addition, she takes the reader on a spine-chilling journey to the heart of Transylvania in search of Count Dracula himself.” Also known as Vlad the Impaler, he created a “forest of the impaled,” which lined the roads to welcome invading troops and all visitors. “Women, children, young and old men were staked, sharp poles thrust between their buttocks, the body being pulled downwards until the sharp point appeared through the throat or top of head; the wooden pole was then planted in the monstrous forest.” This was also to prevent crime in the area, and it did. DW

Publisher: Viking
Hardback: 200 pages

The Art and Science of Cooking With Cannabis

Adam Gottlieb

“Why this book was written: I have read the existing marijuana cookbooks and am deeply disappointed with them. In nearly every one of these the author has simply taken a dozen or so ordinary recipes from a standard cookbook, appended the line “add a half cup of grass” to each, and sold it to the public for 10 times what it is worth. If you have been following the instructions in these books, you most likely have been wasting your hard-earned dope. Although this book contains numerous recipes, it is not intended to be merely another cookbook or recipe collection. It is designed to serve as a guidebook. To teach the reader the nature of cannabis. How it combines with different foods, how it is best assimilated in the human digestive tract, and how to get the most highs for the money. The fourth section of this book is devoted to some of the most suitable dishes that can be prepared from these materials. Simply put, this is one of, if not the best book on cooking with cannabis that exists.” DW

Publisher: Ronin
Paperback: 67 pages

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

The Great Book of Hemp: The Complete Guide to the Commercial, Medicinal and Psychotropic Uses of the World's Most Extraordinary Plant

Robert A. Nelson

This book focuses on some of the most interesting aspects of the diverse plant known as hemp or Cannabis sativa. This complete guide to hemp covers not only the spiritual-enlightenment applications but also its role as a fiber crop and its past and present commercial, medical and environmental uses. “With new technology it is possible to make anything from hemp that we now make from petroleum,” such as paints and plastics. Europe has lifted bans on the cultivation of industrial hemp and many items made from it are showing up in the marketplace, from jeans to sneakers, tree-free paper to insulation. The author discusses hemp’s role in Hindu culture and other religions, and studies the effects of smoking marijuana, both physical and mental. Also featured are little-known truths about hemp and its role in American history. For instance, entries by George Washington in his farming diary about sowing and harvesting hemp, and Washington’s letters to overseer William Pearce about Indian hemp in particular are included. The bok goes on to discuss the “prejudices and coverups behind the marijuana hysteria of the last 50 years.” Includes appendix of hemp resources and the hemp marketplace. DW

Publisher: Park Street
Paperback: 256 pages

Marijuana Botany: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis

Robert Connell Clarke

An advanced study of the propagation and breeding of distinctive types of cannabis. The characteristics of several strains are discussed (indica-Kush, Mexican, Indian, African and Colombian to name a few). Accompanied by drawings of plants showing subtle differences of each strain. Includes the life cycle of cannabis from seed to flowering adult plant; propagation methods such as cloning and grafting and others, breeding and crossing one type of plant with another to get desired characteristics such as high resin content; maturation and harvesting; genetics; determining the sex of plant—everything anyone interested in marijuana botany must know! DW

Publisher: Ronin
Paperback: 198 pages

Psychedelics Encyclopedia

Peter Stafford

Stafford offers one of the most complete and thorough studies of psychedelics to date, gathering information from personal accounts, scientific research and related literature to document psychedelia from the '60s to the present day. Discussed in great detail are: LSD, mescaline, marijuana, DMT, STP and a host of others. The history, botany, physical and mental effects are also presented. Incredibly well-researched, this is the third expanded edition. Learn about: LSD-like compounds found in the common morning glory, the hallucinations of jungle foliage and dancing naked goddesses of the yage, and early mushroom-using Siberian shamans. DW

Publisher: Ronin
Paperback: 512 pages