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Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience Paperback – May 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892817577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817573
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The two books under review report on the use of various drugs, from opium to ecstasy, throughout the ages. With Sisters of the Extreme, Palmer and Horowitz (coeditors of Moksha: Aldous Huxley's Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience) have updated their 1982 anthology, Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady. Following a historical introduction, the authors present firsthand accounts of women on drugs, from Victorian times to the present. Among their subjects are Jane Addams, Edith Wharton, Caresse Crosby, Billie Holiday, Laura Huxley, Anita Hoffman, Bonnie Bremser, and Susan Sontag. Their stories range from sordid tales of heroin addiction and prostitution to quests for spiritual enlightenment. Through these selections, the editors succeed in demonstrating that women's experiences with drugs are "more varied and complex than stereotypes suggest." With over 120 illustrations, this lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries. The title of Plant's (Zeroes & Ones) book is somewhat misleading. While it discusses various writers associated with drugs, from Thomas De Quincey and Charles Baudelaire to William S. Burroughs and Henri Michaux, it quickly veers off into broader matters. More of a cultural history, the book examines the role of drugs in society from a variety of disciplines, including history, political science, psychology, philosophy, medicine, and economics. The topics covered range from Sigmund Freud on cocaine to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on capitalism and schizophrenia, from the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking to the neurochemistry of psychoactive substances, and from the connections between drugs and witchcraft to an examination of the marketing of Coca-Cola. Plant has a gift for synthesis and manages to weave the diverse threads of her study into a coherent and generally readable book. Recommended for academic libraries.DWilliam Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"It is amazingly complete. This book is an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. . . . a book for reference, for spiritual openings, for delight in reading." (www.changes.org)

"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience." (James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review)

“Sisters of the Extreme is a great collection and well worth a read, for those who like great literature and who are interested in Woman/Gender Studies.” (Psychedelic Press UK, January 2013)

"The richness of subjective materials is exquisite. Many drug researchers tend to forget that the subjective experience is the raison d'etre for drug use. Books like this one are an important counterbalance to the objective checklists of clincians. The book contains some of the best expositions of sensory detail this reviewer has ever read." (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs)

"This lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries." (William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY, Library Journal)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kayla Rigney VINE VOICE on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, Sisters of the Extreme is a "reissue" of 1982's Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady -- cut, streamlined and reformatted beyond all recognition. Evidently, the authors took the edge off their book for a more "conservative" era -- either that, or they assume their reader's minds have been so numbed by drugs that we NEED heavy edits and People Magazine-inspired "look" to hold our limited attention.
Sure, there are a couple of new excerpts worth reading (the one from Mary Woronov's "The Mole People is revealing), but for the most part, Sisters of the Extreme seems to be pandering to old YUPPIES who need a little stimulation. I swear that if I read ANYTHING by Carrie Fisher ever again, it will be too soon -- enough of the "I went to rehab and got a bad haircut" trip. Get over it.
In the introduction, the authors do say that they edited some excerpts for space and deleted others all together. When I got out the two editions and compared them almost line for line, I discovered a disturbing trend -- whereas Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady allowed one to take the writings at face value, Sisters of the Extreme has definite agenda. Sisters of the Extreme doesn't LIKE drugs. It doesn't want ME to like drugs. It wants me to be TITILATED by the writings. The difference is clear.
Sisters of the Extreme is a product of the times. It's been dumbed down and punched up. Sure, the authors include a couple of writings on sex magick and a few counter culture cartoons, but the overall smell of political correctness is stupifying.
The gist of my review is this: if don't already own a copy of Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, go ahead and buy Sisters of the Extreme. Then, go on a quest for the Real Thing.
In the meantime, the use bibliography in Sisters of the Extreme to find and read the original sourced writings. You'll be glad you did.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By maxne on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting and enjoyable book. Art and photographs add interest as does
the history of women in this compilation. Very thorough overview presented
well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bjmw on September 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sisters Of The Extreme is an informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience includes a variety of works from such notables as Bronte, Alcott, Di Prima, and more. Writings from historical works through modern times are gathered in Sisters Of The Extreme, a fine survey of the lives and experiences of women who have had their lives changed by drugs.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jeannine Parvati Baker on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being on the fringe of consensual reality and yet being able to take some notes of the journeys beyond, is an awesome gift. The stories in SISTERS OF THE EXTREME are such gifts of the God-Us. I have the original SHAMAN WOMAN, MAINLINE LADY and went through my contribution, line for line, and the only difference noted was my photo had shrunk in this new, revised edition. (This is consistent as now, being in my fifties, I notice that I am shrinking some also.) The tone not only is consistent from the first edition but vividly expansive. (I was somewhat embarrassed being in the first edition, with the stereotypic cover -- yet in this new volume, I am honored not only for the outrageous company kept and new sisters included but engaging graphics.)
As the God-Us dances about the universe, skirt swirling the galaxies, being on the fringes gives the wildest ride. This book is a travelogue by explorers of multi-dimensional realities written in white ink, from the heart of our Sisters-in-the-Clan-of-Encouragement: this book is a major herstoric contribution to the sext of human consciousness.
Jeannine Parvati (Baker) Author HYGIEIA: A WOMAN'S HERBAL
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