Sisters of the Extreme

Women Writing on the Drug Experience:
Charlotte Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, Anaïs Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Diane di Prima, Carrie Fisher, and Many Others

Edited by Cynthia Palmer
Edited by Michael Horowitz
Sisters of the Extreme
Women Writing on the Drug Experience:
Charlotte Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, Anaïs Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Diane di Prima, Carrie Fisher, and Many Others

Edited by Cynthia Palmer
Edited by Michael Horowitz

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Pages : 328

Book Size : 8 x 10

ISBN-13 : 9780892817573

Imprint : Park Street Press

Release Date : May 01, 2000

Format : Paperback Book

Illustrations : 154 b&w illustrations and photographs

Sisters of the Extreme provides us with the eloquent writings of women who experimented with drugs. Sometimes their quests brought unexpected rewards, sometimes suffering. The selections in this anthology show that the psychedelic experiences of women have been anything but stereotypical.
Description

About Sisters of the Extreme


• An anthology of writings by some of the most influential women in history on the often misunderstood and misrepresented female drug experience.


• With great honesty, bravery, and frankness, women from diverse backgrounds write about their drug experiences.


Women have been experimenting with drugs since prehistoric times, and yet published accounts of their views on the drug experience have been relegated to either antiseptic sociological studies or sensationalized stories splashed across the tabloids. The media has given us an enduring, but inaccurate, stereotype of a female drug user: passive, addicted, exploited, degraded, promiscuous. But the selections in this anthology--penned by such famous names as Billie Holiday, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, and Carrie Fisher--show us that the real experiences of women are anything but stereotypical. 

Sisters of the Extreme provides us with writings by women from diverse occupations and backgrounds, from prostitute to physician, who through their use of drugs dared cross the boundaries set by society--often doing so with the hope of expanding themselves and their vision of the world. Whether with LSD, peyote, cocaine, heroine, MDMA, or marijuana, these women have sought to reach, through their experimentation, other levels of consciousness. Sometimes their quests have brought unexpected rewards, other times great suffering and misfortune. But wherever their trips have left them, these women have lived courageously--if sometimes dangerously--and written about their journeys eloquently.

Table of Contents

Table of content


Foreword

Preface

Introduction


Images of Women and Drugs in Myth and History

Opium and the Victorian Imagination

Expatriates and Vagabonds

Mainline Ladies

Psychedelic Pioneers

Beats and Hippies

Choosers and Abusers

Shaman Women at the End of the Millennium
Author Bio
Longtime drug historians, Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz are the directors of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, the nation’s largest private collection of drug literature. They are also the editors of Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience. Mr. Horowitz is the editor of Timothy Leary’s Chaos and Cyberculture and a bibliography of his writings.  
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

"The richness of subjective materials is exquisite. Many drug researchers tend to forget that the subjective experience is the raison d'etre for drug use. Books like this one are an important counterbalance to the objective checklists of clincians. The book contains some of the best expositions of sensory detail this reviewer has ever read."
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

"This lively introduction to a relatively neglected topic is recommended for larger public and academic libraries."
William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY, Library Journal

"It is amazingly complete. This book is an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. . . . a book for reference, for spiritual openings, for delight in reading."
www.changes.org

"An informative and engaging presentation of famous female authors who write about the drug experience."
James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review

“Sisters of the Extreme is a great collection and well worth a read, for those who like great literature and who are interested in Woman/Gender Studies.”
Psychedelic Press UK, January 2013
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

WOMEN’S STUDIES / PSYCHEDELICS

“A fascinating book. I didn’t realize I had so many sisters of the extreme.”
--Grace Slick, Lead Singer of Jefferson Airplane

“A long-overdue addition to the literature of drug experiences. . . . Gives a new perspective on the complex reasons for human involvement with psychoactive substances.”
--Andrew Weil, M.D., Author of Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health

“A most important contribution to the understanding of the feminine psyche. An amazing and extensive collection of first-hand narratives of psychological and visionary importance.”
--Joan Halifax, Author of Shamanic Voices

“The richness of subjective materials is exquisite. Many drug researchers tend to forget that the subjective experience is the raison d’etre for drug use. Books like this one are an important counterbalance to the objective checklists of clinicians. The book contains some of the best expositions of sensory detail this reviewer has ever read.”
--Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

Sisters of the Extreme captures the drug experiences of women from diverse times, social backgrounds, and professions in memoir, fiction, poetry, song, and art. From the mythic associations of ancient history and the rituals of indigenous peoples, through the rampant opiate intoxication of the Victorian era, to the junkies, psychedelic pioneers, anthropologists, and ravers of the late twentieth century, the selections in this book show us that the real experiences of women are far more compelling than antiseptic sociological studies or sensationalized tabloid accounts.

Some of the contributors are after visions, revelations, and the healing powers of sacred plants while others are seekers of oblivion--addicts and abusers. Whether describing the effects of opium, LSD, peyote, mushrooms, ayahuasca, cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or marijuana, these women write about their experiences with power and eloquence. Through their experiments with drugs, they cross the boundaries set up by society: sometimes to escape, sometimes to search for deeper meaning, but always with a sense of adventure.

Longtime drug historians, CYNTHIA PALMER and MICHAEL HOROWITZ are the directors of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, the nation’s largest private collection of drug literature. They are also the editors of Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience. Mr. Horowitz is the editor of Timothy Leary’s Chaos and Cyberculture and a bibliography of his writings.

Awakening the Chakras

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