The Seven Sisters of Sleep by Mordecai Cooke / ISBN 9780892817481 / 288-page paperback from Park Street Press
This groundbreaking survey, written in 1860, is a radically open-minded look at the use of drugs across the world and throughout the ages.
Early users of tobacco in Russia would have their noses cut off and repeat offenders their heads. Pope Innocent XII excommunicated any who used it in St. Peters. Marijuana users in 14th century Egypt would have their teeth extracted for the crime. Yet use of these and other forbidden substances continued to grow. If only as a record of the perennial failure of harsh punishments to deter drug use Victorian naturalist Mordecai Cooke's work The Seven Sisters of Sleep would remain significant. But Cooke's natural humor and keen insights have ensured this work's reputation as possibly the best early book from what has grown into an enormous body of literature on mind- and mood-altering substances. Written at a time, similar to our own, when drug use was being reconsidered, The Seven Sisters of Sleep is a thought-provoking and open-minded look at the use of drugs across the world and throughout the ages.
Quite popular in its day and a major influence on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, this is an important book for anyone interested in an unbiased account of humanity's long involvement with psychoactive, hallucinogenic, and stimulant plants.