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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on April 29, 2015
A lot of interesting ideas and the writing style is engaging. The novelty of his theories alone are worth the read, and have caused me research fungi awareness and reactivity outside the book. It's fascinating! Check out the fungi that can detect and predict patterns, and adapt to changes in patterns (such as waves of cold and hot climate) on youtube.

However, my main gripe is that many of his theories are far-fetched and he knows it, he doesn't seem to have a lot of conviction. At least that's better than ardently preaching ideas you don't fully believe. The dramatic beginning of each chapter (usually following the actions of some ancient, tribal human) are also a little cringey. Very weird romanticization of shamanism and aboriginal spirituality, including implications that it doesn't exist today, which it does.
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on July 7, 2003
I'm a bit flabbergasted by all the accolades here about McKenna's "solid research." Well, partially flabbergasted. His research into the properties of ethnogens is unrivaled. But his research into history is awful. For instance, he simply takes for granted such things as the Great Mother Goddess theory, without apparently considering that this was never accepted by serious scholars in the first place - with the exception of Gimbutas - and is now accepted only in the popular imagination. (Read Ronald Hutton's "Triumph of the Moon" for more info on how this theory took hold of popular consciousness.) And he routinely presents various conspiracy theories (the CIA destroyed the "New Left", etc.) as complete fact without stopping to even consider that alternative viewpoints and interpretations may exist. That is not good scholarship.
McKenna was an important countercultural figure and his work has great value, but don't take him as authoritative on purely historical issues. Read him for his unique point of view and for his first-hand experiences with the various substances he writes about.
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