Letcher, Andy 1968–

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Letcher, Andy 1968–

PERSONAL:

Born 1968, in Devon, England. Education: Studied at Marlborough College, Sheffield University; Merton College, Oxford, D.Phil, 1994; King Alfred's College, University of Winchester, Ph.D., 2001.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Oxford Brookes University, lecturer; Telling the Bees, band member.

WRITINGS:

Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, Ecco (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Andy Letcher is a nonfiction writer who has a strong interest in shamanism and contemporary paganism. Born in Devon, England, Letcher studied physics and applied ecology at Marl- borough College, Sheffield University, and Merton College, Oxford. After becoming frustrated with the lack of attention to environmental issues, he toured England and France with his acid folk band, Telling the Bees, playing at a number of pagan-psychedelic festivals. He later returned an earned his Ph.D. on the topic of bardic performance in contemporary pagan movements.

In Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, Letcher rewrites the history of hallucinogenic mushrooms, questioning the widely held assumption that mushrooms have been in use since prehistory. Using archaeological and historical evidence, he argues that, barring Mexico and Siberia, intentional mushroom use is a phenomenon of the last fifty years. In a London Guardian review, Daniel Butler said that Shroom was an "intelligent and well-researched book, which is full of surprises." Mary Grace Flaherty in a Library Journal review noted that the book "is thought provoking, … highly accessible and amusing," and also "extensively researched and engaging."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Mike Tribby, review of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, p. 31.

Guardian (London, England), May 27, 2006, Daniel Butler, review of Shroom.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2006, review of Shroom, p. 1209.

Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Mary Grace Flaherty, review of Shroom, p. 89.

New Statesman, June 12, 2006, Ned Denny, review of Shroom, p. 64.

New York Times Book Review, June 3, 2007, Dick Teresi, review of Shroom, p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, December 18, 2006, review of Shroom, p. 59.

Reason, July, 2007, Jacob Sullum, review of Shroom, p. 70.

Relish Now, July 8, 2007, Steve Wishnevsky, review of Shroom, p. 59.

ONLINE

Andy Letcher Home Page,http://www.andyletcher.co.uk (August 21, 2007), author biography.

Andy Letcher MySpace Profile,http://www.myspace.com/shroomthebook (August 21, 2007), author profile.

Brooklyn Rail,http://brooklynrail.org/ (December 12, 2007), Ben Gore, review of Shroom.

Dosenation.com,http://www.dosenation.com/ (August 21, 2007), James Kent, author interview and review of Shroom.

Erowid,http://www.erowid.org/ (December 12, 2007), Mike Jay, review of Shroom.

Strange Attractor,http://www.strangeattractor.com/ (August 21, 2007), review of Shroom.