It's as if Nature ignored the learned and kissed the ears only of those who live close to her."" Mr. Taylor has bent over backwards to listen to the ""whispers from the earth,"" and has come up with an extensive history of many of the sources of our modern wonder drugs. Although geared for a more specialized audience, this record does contain enough anecdote to keep the botanists beaming, i.e. the determined sponsorship of the potato by Louis XIV (Marie Antoinette wore its blossoms in her hair) who finally planted a potato field and set guards around it wisely figuring that the temptation to taste stolen fruit would prove too much for his subjects. Among the numerous plant drugs discussed are coca (once the ingredient in Coca Cola- now banned), caffeine, quinine, reserpine, ergot, the sea onion, and vinca rosea (possible cancer cure?). Benefits, uses, and problems are comprehensively described. Most interesting are the strange twists of fate that could take a poison from the tip of a spear and transform it into an invaluable aid on the operating table. Valuable as a pharmacological reference and particularly interesting to the practitioner and student.