Thirty days on LSD therapy makes for a fascinating trip, indeed, and a learning opportunity for readers interested in the...

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A REALLY GOOD DAY

HOW MICRODOSING MADE A MEGA DIFFERENCE IN MY MOOD, MY MARRIAGE, AND MY LIFE

How self-administering tiny doses of LSD abated the disintegration of the author’s mental health and family life.

Novelist Waldman (Love and Treasure, 2014, etc.) charts a complete month of her experimental journey with subtherapeutic microdoses (one-tenth of a typical dose) of psychedelic drugs. Her engrossing trial-and-error salve for depression was borne out of desperation and the realization she was being “held hostage by the vagaries of mood” from premenstrual dysphoric disorder. When the author’s conventionally prescribed treatments failed, her ailment became an increasingly arduous burden for her husband and four teenagers to bear. Clearly suffering, she enlisted the help of Dr. James Fadiman, an aging former psychedelic researcher, and embarked on his renegade trial by imbibing subperceptual doses of LSD on repeating three-day cycles and then recording its physical and psychological effects. Candidly written with vivid detail, Waldman’s 30-day diary is compelling and eye-opening from both a medical and an observational perspective. Initially, only her sleep appeared to be negatively affected, while her productivity, listening skills, and sensory awareness increased; her mood incrementally lifted as well. The author provides an informative treatise on drug abuse statistics, a brief history of pharmacological therapies, and her own perspectives on drug decriminalization. As a former federal public defender and law professor who lectured about the war on drugs, Waldman is scholarly on the subject and infuses case study material into her memoir, offering interesting notes on neurochemistry, interviews with psychonauts, and chronicles of successful, pioneering research studies with psychedelics. Throughout, the author shares frank, revealing anecdotes on her family and personal life, including the disclosure that her and her husband’s current version of “marital therapy” involves periodic use of the euphoric drug MDMA. The author’s controversial and unsubstantiated medicinal intervention with LSD is bravely honest, and the results are mildly promising.

Thirty days on LSD therapy makes for a fascinating trip, indeed, and a learning opportunity for readers interested in the past and present therapeutic uses for psychedelic drugs.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-49409-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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