The Cultural History of the Magic MushroomBook - 2007
Is Santa Claus really a magic mushroom in disguise? Was Alice's Adventures 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 rediscovered only 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 scientists and others in major Western nations, the United States and the United Kingdom in particular, have identified hundreds of hallucinogenic species, isolated their active ingredients, learned how to cultivate them on an industrial scale, and spread them around the world. More than any other civilization that has come before us, and despite all the myths we have built, we, by all rights, are the true magic mushroom enthusiasts.
Informative, lively and impeccably researched, Shroom presents a unique and engaging study of this most extraordinary of psychedelic drugs.