Psychedelics are not terribly new. And the drug mescaline is certainly not new. Mike Jay's new book, Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic (Yale University Press, 2019), tells two trippy stories: one that is about Indigenous use and another about Western society's adoption of the drug in culture and medicine. He discusses perceptions of mescaline in science, culture, and the psychedelic renaissance. The book - and the discussion - is eye-opening.
Mike Jay is a freelance writer and public intellectual. He is the author of over a dozen books and regularly contributes to the the London Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal and the Literary Review. He works as a curator and exhibit designer for the Wellcome Trust in London.
Lucas Richert is an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He studies intoxicating substances and the pharmaceutical industry. He also examines the history of mental health.