A Brief History of Drugs: From the Stone Age to the Stoned Age

Overview

A clear-eyed look at the instrumental role drugs have played in our cultural, social, and spiritual development. 

• First American publication of the surprising European bestseller. 

• Examines everything from the ancient use of ergot and datura to the modern phenomenon of  "designer" drugs such as Ecstasy and crack cocaine. 

From remotest antiquity to the present era of designer drugs and interdiction, drugs have played a prominent role in the cultural, ...

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A Brief History of Drugs: From the Stone Age to the Stoned Age

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Overview

A clear-eyed look at the instrumental role drugs have played in our cultural, social, and spiritual development. 

• First American publication of the surprising European bestseller. 

• Examines everything from the ancient use of ergot and datura to the modern phenomenon of  "designer" drugs such as Ecstasy and crack cocaine. 

From remotest antiquity to the present era of designer drugs and interdiction, drugs have played a prominent role in the cultural, spiritual, and social development of civilizations. Antonio Escohotado demonstrates how the history of drugs illuminates the history of humanity as he explores the long relationship between mankind and mind-altering substances. Hemp, for example, has been used in India since time immemorial to stimulate mental agility and sexual prowess. Aristotle's disciple Theophrastus testifies to the use of datura by the ancient Greeks and further evidence links the rites at Eleusis to the ingestion of a hallucinogen. Similar examples can be found in cultures as diverse as the Celts, the ancient Egyptians, the Aztecs, and other indigenous peoples around the world. 

Professor Escohotado also looks at the present-day differences that exist between the more drug-tolerant societies like Holland and Switzerland and countries advocating complete repression of these substances. The author provides a comprehensive analysis of the enormous social costs of the drug war that is coming under increasing fire from all levels of society. Professor Escohotado's work demonstrates that drugs have always existed and been used by societies throughout the world and the contribution they have made to humanity's development has been enormous. The choice we face today is to teach people how to use them correctly or to continue to indiscriminately demonize them. "Just say no," the author says, is not an option. Just say "know" is. 

Antonio Escohotado is a professor of philosophy and social science methodology at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain. He travels widely, offering lectures and seminars on the subject of drugs and history. 

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Editorial Reviews

American Herb Association
"This book examines natural substances used by different cultures to alter the mind. Makes for interesting, thought provoking reading."
Ralph Metzner
"A fascinating and informative history of humankind's checkered and often ambivalent relationship with psychoactive plants and drugs. From the role of the opium poppy in ancient Mesopotamia and the ergot-based mystery cult of Eleusis, through the opium wars in China and the persecution of medieval herbalist witches, up to the 'psychedelic rebellion' of the sixties and the insanities of the current 'war on drugs,' Eschohotado covers an enormous subject with scholarly acumen and brings the light of reason to bear on topics often shrouded in bigotry, ignorance, and cupidity. Highly recommended!"
Vol 16:4 American Herb Association
"This book examines natural substances used by different cultures to alter the mind. Makes for interesting, thought provoking reading."
From the Publisher
"A fascinating and informative history of humankind's checkered and often ambivalent relationship with psychoactive plants and drugs. From the role of the opium poppy in ancient Mesopotamia and the ergot-based mystery cult of Eleusis, through the opium wars in China and the persecution of medieval herbalist witches, up to the 'psychedelic rebellion' of the sixties and the insanities of the current 'war on drugs,' Eschohotado covers an enormous subject with scholarly acumen and brings the light of reason to bear on topics often shrouded in bigotry, ignorance, and cupidity. Highly recommended!"

"This book examines natural substances used by different cultures to alter the mind. Makes for interesting, thought provoking reading."

American Herb Association
This book examines natural substances used by different cultures to alter the mind. Makes for interesting, thought provoking reading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892818266
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Escohotado is a professor of philosophy and social science methodology at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain. He travels widely, offering lectures and seminars on the subject of drugs and history. 

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction 

1 Remote Antiquity
2 The Greek World
3 The Roman World
4 The End of Paganism
5 Islam and Inebriation
6 Drugs, Lust, and Satan
7 The Resurgence of Medicine
8 The Discovery of America
9 The End of the Old Regime and the Opium Wars
10 The Nineteenth Century
11 The Antiliberal Reaction
12 The Beginnings of the Crusade
13 New Drugs
14 A Pharmacratic Peace
15 The Psychedelic Rebellion
16 Return of the Repressed
17 The Era of Substitutes
18 Some Aspects of the Problem

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 1999

    A book all we have to read!

    No doubt, you have to read this book. It is going to get you astonished. It is a VERY condensed resume of his 3 volume (not available in english) 'Historia general de las drogas', (50$USA each volume!). This book is the most comprehensive work about the subject in the world. The author is a UNED profesor (a Spanish university) who teachs philosophy and metodology of sciences. What is going to surprise you? * Personally he has used 142 psicoactive drugs. He has been 4 times in jail because he considers his main activity, i.e, to be a 'psiconauta'. * He has teached his own sons about use of some of that drugs, dangers, annoyances, characteristics to be aware of. * He is considered 'one of the 70 most important thinkers of our century' look the following string in Altavista for an entrvista: 'Antonio Escohotado' NEAR entrevista * Richard Nixon, was a young attoney of the Lasky staff when the 'jewish maffia' negotiated the control of heroin production in the far east.. * Richard Nixon, when president, began the strong enforcenment against drugs... * During some time, Roma, has only one substance considered 'a drug'. It was the grape and its derivative, the wine!!!. Now Italy produce some of the best wines in the world!. But one time to have grapes was sufficient for the goverment to kill you. In one week one governor killed 10000 persons because they had wine or grapes. The ejucutions were without trial!, and that was in the culture who 'invented' our legal system!!!. Of course, his approach may get you angry in case you believe drugs are only substances to be forbidden, you have a strong position against drugs, but it may be also you can be amazing about the solid and extensive knowledge of this man. And of course is also possible you discover your point of view is OK but... there are facts you did not know. In my opinion it is a book to be read. It has to be readed. It has never been a good practice to belive in demons. At least for a hummanist point of view. Now from the inner of our civilization appears a new evil: the drugs. This point of view is not good for democracy. No doubt, you have to read this book. Ask for it as your next birthday gift!. Sorry by my english, I've wrote in a hurry!

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