Synopses & Reviews
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.
“An extraordinary account...With its easy style and witty handling of scientific analysis, it makes a fascinating and satisfying read.” The Observer
“Elegant and authoritative” The Independent on Sunday
“An intelligent and well-researched book...Full of surprises.” The Guardian
Did mushroom tea kick-start ancient Greek philosophy?
Was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a thinly veiled psychedelic mushroom odyssey?
Is Santa Claus really a magic mushroom in disguise?
The world of the magic mushroom is a place where shamans and hippies rub shoulders with psychiatrists, poets, and international bankers. Since its rediscovery only fifty years ago, this hallucinogenic fungus, once shunned in the West as the most pernicious of poisons, has inspired a plethora of folktales and urban legends. In this timely and definitive study, Andy Letcher chronicles the history of the magic mushroomfrom its use by the Aztecs of Central America and the tribes of Siberia through to the present daystripping away the myths and taking a critical and humorous look at the drug's more recent manifestations.
Informative, lively, and impeccably researched, Shroomis a unique and engaging exploration of this most extraordinary of psychedelics.
About the Author
Andy Letcher is a freelance writer, lecturer, and musician with a doctorate in ecology from Oxford University, and a second in religious/cultural studies from King Alfred's College, Winchester. He lives in Oxford, England, and sings and plays the mandolin and English bagpipes in his own acid folk group, Telling the Bees.