I just finished reading Richard Rudgley's book, Essential Substances: A Cultural History of Intoxicants in Society. The book is a light read. Rudgley surveys time and place, describing the intoxicant use of different societies, including interesting details (fun facts) about the complexes of tools and rituals which accompany drugs. Although Essential Substances isn't as rigorous as his Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, it demonstrates, as Lost Civilizations does, his ability to see through stone walls of bias, hypocrisy and stereotypes. Rudgley, in Essential Substances, extends his exposure of dogmatic, anthropological research by reminding us that drugs, while condemned in American society, are nearly ubiquitous in time and place, and we can't understand our ancestors and neighbors unless we understand their intoxicant use, which differs dramatically from the modern, American experience.
Mr. Rudgley, write me another. Send me an email, because I have a topic for you.