Andy Letcher
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ISBN 9780571227709 Format Paperback
Published 15/06/2006 Length 384 pages

About Book

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.