cover image White Rabbit

White Rabbit

Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $13.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0666-4

Long before the '60s drug revolution introduced psychedelics to the general public, they were indulged in by writers, artists and visionaries looking for entry into mystical worlds these drugs promised. While most of the 38 entries were penned by such famous drug ``advocates'' as William Burroughs, Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson, a surprising number are culled from myth or such unlikely sources as Florence Nightingale, who used opium to ease her back pain. Philip K. Dick's excerpted ``The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich'' alludes to a mysterious Can-D, while Sigmund Freud's scientific investigation ``Coca'' concludes that the leaves from which cocaine is derived offer a number of safe medicinal uses. Miles Davis's ribald tale of cocaine paranoia refutes many of Freud's claims, but it also proves as entertaining and unlikely a story as Dick's science fiction. Charles Dickens's classic ``The Mystery of Edwin Drood'' is juxtaposed against the work of contemporary writers Laurie Colwin and Terry Southern. Miller and Koral's brave and irreverent juxtapositions create a skewed universe in which Coleridge's Xanadu neighbors Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, both interesting places to visit indeed. (June)