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The encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances
Synopses & Reviews
For all those who might like to believe that drug use has been relegated to the suburban rec rooms and ghetto crack houses of the late twentieth century, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances offers shocking, yet thoroughly enlightening evidence to the contrary. In fact, from Neolithic man to Queen Victoria, humans have abused all sorts of drugs in the name of religion, tradition, and recreation, including such "controlled substances" as chocolate, lettuce, and toads.
From glue-sniffing to LSD to kava, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances provides the first reliable, comprehensive exploration of this fascinating and controversial topic. With over one hundred entries, acclaimed author Richard Rudgley covers not only the chemical and botanical background of each substance, but its physiological and psychological effect on the user. Of particular value is Rudgley's emphasis on the historical and cultural role of these mind-altering substances. Impeccably researched and hugely entertaining, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances will appeal to anyone interested in one of the most misunderstood and yet also most widespread of human activities - the chemical quest for an altered state of consciousness.
Accessible and entertaining, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances combines scholarly insight with remarkably bizarre anecdotal information. Entries cover the chemical and botanical background of each substance and its effects. In addition, Rudgley focuses on the historical and cultural role of mind-altering substances, challenging the popular belief that their use is a modern phenomenon, restricted to deviants on the fringes of society. In fact, psychoactives have been used for thousands of years: in Europe, men took opium long before alcohol arrived from Asia Minor, and Parisian housewives whiled away 19th-century afternoons shooting morphine with their friends. Today, monks endorse Ecstasy, and reindeer stumble around the tundra ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms. Clearly, there is more to the subject than the DEA would have you know.
About the Author
Richard Rudgley studied social anthropology and religious studies at the University of London, and went on to study ethnology and prehistory at Oxford. He is currently based at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, undertaking research into the prehistoric and ancient use of psychoactive plants. In 1991 he became the first winner of the British Museum Prometheus Award, which resulted in the publication of his first book, The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society. He is married with a daughter and a son and divides most of his time between London and Oxford.
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