Thursday, 11 September 2008

Albion Dreaming review

Albion Dreaming by Andy Roberts

Albion Dreaming is a serious attempt to re-evaluate and document the use of LSD in popular British culture since its discovery 70 years ago, around the same time as the atomic bomb. Although well written, it is a book aimed for a popular, rather than a medical or academic readership. Whatever your views on LSD, its impact on culture in the UK has been phenomenal. From secret MI5 and psychiatric experiments, to beatnik magic experiments, the psychedelic 60s through free festivals, new age travellers and the rave scene.

In our culture LSD, as well as being a folk devil, has also been associated with very positive life-changing experiences and self- initiation. For many people acid has led to an increased awareness of ecological concerns, spirituality, communality and a better understanding of how the mind works. Roberts points out that its legal position has often been out of proportion to its documented dangers, and that illicit LSD manufacturers tend to be ideologically rather than commercially motivated. Proper medical research on what is certainly an unusual and is possibly a very valuable drug has never really happened. This has been thanks to tabloid hysteria and political timidity and public fears. Tabloid hysteria and moral panic has also led to disproportionate judicial repression of LSD manufacturers, suppliers and users, some of which is documented here.

Being concerned with mythology, magic, urban legend and new religions, it is ideal material for a seasoned Fortean researcher like Andy Roberts. The book is very well-researched, much of the material here has never been published before, rumours and hearsay have been followed up, and facts have been checked. Roberts also emphasises how mindset and environmental setting are vital to how LSD is experienced and how the effects of LSD, especially within in a society such as our own, are not always positive.

A big fat book which provides a fascinating read about what remains a very controversial subject.

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish (30 Sep 2008)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1905736274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905736270

Albion Dreaming

No comments: