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The Long Trip: The Prehistory of Psychedelia (Arkana) Paperback – June 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Arkana
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140195408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140195408
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

An independent specialist breezily and a bit tendentiously summarizes the archaeological and anthropological understanding, such as it is, of the widespread use of hallucinogenic plants around the world since the earliest times. Devereux's interpretation of indirect archaeological evidence of psychedelic use in ancient western Europe often comes across as highly speculative. But it's an intriguing look at the kinds of clues ``cognitive archaeologists'' use to reconstruct long-lost behavior, and in any case the brisk global tour of long-exploited psychoactive plants leaves no doubt of the intimate relation between these drugs and most human cultures--the notable exception being our own. From early Eurasia (the familiar red-capped fly agaric mushroom and the legendary soma) to Africa (ibogaine and khat), through the arcane traditions of Native Americans and the plant lore of ``witchcraft,'' natural hallucinogens have been an integral part of shamanic religions' belief in a higher plane. Devereux, constantly emphasizing the role of context in any psychedelic experience, takes pains to show that hallucinogens were usually strictly regulated aspects of a coherent culture's rites. Thus, while not simply proselytizing for the indiscriminate use of psychedelics, Devereux is fanatically keen to demonstrate what modern Western culture is missing out on in its underappreciation of this history (as well as of expanded consciousness itself). Because of this underappreciation, much such study has been performed outside of mainstream anthropology and archaeology. As a consequence, perhaps, while Devereux's book is a handy summary of this research, much information seems sketchily documented, when it is not outright unexplained assertion. Devereux's claims for the true insights afforded by psychedelics (including prediction and remote viewing) invite some skepticism, too. But he shows that judgments would be better made in a climate of rational inquiry into the obviously basic human predilection for altered consciousness. (83 b&w illustrations, not seen) (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Paul Devereux (b.1945) is co-founder and managing editor of the peer-reviewed 'TIME & MIND - The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture', now a Routledge publication (www.tandfonline.com/rtam), a research affiliate (2007-current) with the Royal College of Art, and archaeology columnist with 'Fortean Times'. He has written over two dozen books since 1979, which has kept him pretty busy! He also gives lectures,presentations and workshops in the UK, Continental Europe and the USA. His main research interests include the study of ancient sacred sites and landscapes, sound at archaeological sites, and the anthropology of consciousness (ancient worldviews) along with modern consciousness studies. He has visited many monuments and ancient places around the world, and has directly experienced some strange phenomena, so his research interests are not merely academic. In his books he maintains a factual basis without shying away from challenging subject matter.You can see (and hear) some of his acoustic research involvement at www.landscape-perception.com, and his website is: www.pauldevereux.co.uk.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By nonlinearize on November 10, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Devereux's Trip is an essential work for those interested in human origins and development, the evolution and exploration of human consciousness, and the application and influence of natural psychotropic substances in these realms.

The Trip may be a somewhat cumbersome read for those unacquainted with anthropological discourse, because the text is often meticulously detailed, providing an account of what seems to be every conceivable snippet of evidence for the exploratory use of psychotropics throughout the long span of human prehistory. However, such detailed examination is used to establish and re-enforce the author's engaging, mind-widening insights. What others have only conjectured in this understudied field, Devereux substantiates and strengthens.

Psychotropics have had a marked influence on our spiritual traditions, philosophies and arts, and these mind-altering substances continue to play an important role in our collective experience. Here in Devereux's Long Trip is the who, what, when, where, why, and how much -- a mesmerizing tour through our ancestors' peculiar past, a photo album replete with fascinating glimpses into the universal drive and thirst for discovery, knowledge and truth.

This text, above many others, provides a compelling introductory survey of the true depth of psychotropic experimentation and exploration. Highly recommended to those already interested in psychotropic use, but especially suggested for those skeptical of the influence, value, importance and benefits such substances, curiously available in our own Grand Backyard, have the potential capacity to provide.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J Irvin on January 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Paul Devereux - The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia
1997

Contrary to some of the other reviews (Amazon), this book is well researched, well founded, backed with many sources, and was a pleasure to read. I only wish that Devereux had more recognition for his wonderful studies.

First Devereux starts us on this trip of the long history of psychedelia by giving us a glimpse of what started Devereux on his study in the first place--his college LSD experimentation.

He then gives us a well documented history of the use of entheogenic substances in indigenous cultures world wide. He further supports this already well documented evidence by giving the reader new ways of looking at prehistoric hieroglyphs and then the so-called ley lines, or ghost roads.

He closes the book with a well balanced and thoughtful proposition for how our society should go about a return of entheogens to normal society, and shows how this, in a way, is already happening.

If you're interested in the study of entheogens and shamanism, this book is a must read. 5 Star
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Okay, Okay so this isn't up to the Kirkus Reviews' idea of good anthropology...But, for those of us who love a fun, speculative look at the human behavior it's great!! There does seem to be some inborn need to experiment with our thought processes and this book makes a strong case for an historical presidence.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Some may enjoy this very loose trip to the past but it was dull for me. Lots of conjecture about the distant past. I prefer something more concrete.
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