by Andy Letcher - £9.99 Faber and Faber (2007)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780571227716 | ISBN 10: 0571227716
Is Santa Claus really a magic mushroom in disguise? Was ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a thinly veiled psychedelic mushroom odyssey? Did mushroom tea kick-start ancient Greek philosophy?
Much stranger than the fictions it has inspired, the world of the magic mushroom is a place where shamans and hippies rub shoulders with psychiatrists, poets and international bankers.
The ‘magic mushroom’ was only rediscovered fifty years ago, but has accumulated all sorts of folktales and urban legends along the way. In this timely and definitive study, Andy Letcher strips away the myths to get at the true story of how hallucinogenic mushrooms, once shunned in the West as the most pernicious of poisons, came to be the illicit drug of choice.
Chronicling the history of the magic mushroom from its use by the Aztecs of Central America and the tribes of Siberia through to the present day, Letcher takes a critical and humorous look at the drug’s more recent manifestations. Since the 1970s we have identified hundreds of hallucinogenic species, isolated their active ingredients, learnt how to cultivate them on an industrial scale, and spread them around the world. More than any civilisation that has come before us, we can claim to be magic mushroom enthusiasts.
Informative, lively and impeccably researched, Shroom presents a unique and engaging study of this most extraordinary of psychedelic drugs.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)
In booklists: Addiction and Drugs, Growing, Foraging and Gathering Food, Drugs - History & Culture, In categories: Society, Welfare, Justice & the State, Health & Wellbeing, Food & Cooking, Environment & Animal Rights, History & Biography, Media & Culture,