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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another reality, 6 Aug. 2002
This review is from: White Rabbit: A Psychedelic Reader (Paperback)
The wide variety of writing here examines the vast amount of literature about drugs with the emphasis on drug users. White Rabbit is a comprehensive anthology that permits the reader to contemplate the complete range of substances, from absinthe, eboga and ecstasy to yage and opium to moonshine, as narrated by some of the world's most imaginative writers.

Authors and sources include William Burroughs (The Yage Letters), Nelson Algren (The Man with the Golden Arm), Florence Nightingale, Jean Cocteau (Opium), Arthur Conan Doyle, Philip K. Dick, Miles Davis (Miles: The Autobiography), Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception), Charles Baudelaire (The Double Room), Terence McKenna (True Hallucinations), Lewis Carroll, Hunter S. Thompson (The Great Shark Hunt), Amos Tutuola (The Palm-Wine Drinkard), Paul Bowles (Without Stopping), Arthur Rimbaud, Marie Corelli (Wormwood), Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test), Timothy Leary (The Psychedelic Experience), Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sigmund Freud (Coca) and The Rig Veda (Soma).

Whether in ecstasy or hung over, addicted or recovering, the writers in White Rabbit examines the drug experience from every angle. Their always fascinating and often eloquent narratives provide a colorful read, amply rewarding the reader with its variety of experiences. Some pieces are way too short, though, like Florence Nightingale's one little sentence, Paul Gauguin's two short paragraphs and Rimbaud's brief poem. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's little ode to opium is also quite skimpy.

White Rabbit provides great insight as it brings together so many interesting perspectives and writing styles. As the authors put it so well: "Drugs are inherently subversive, sometimes dangerous, occasionally great fun. They 'clear away the past and enhance the present,' they can inspire great art and greater experience, or they can unleash the monster lurking within." The book concludes with nine pages of brief biographies of the authors, providing some background to the pieces collected here.

Similar works that might be of interest include Phantastica by Louis Lewin, Animals and Psychedelics by Giorgio Samorini, Supernatural by Graham Hancock and DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman.
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Peter Uys
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Location: Sandton

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