Alexander Dawson has produced a stellar piece of comparative scholarship on the history of peyote and its uses in both Mexico and the United States. He opens his book with an 1833 cholera epidemic that plagued a small town in northern Mexico and the attempt by a pioneering doctor to use local remedies to solve the crisis. This introductory chapter paves the way for the multifaceted remainder of the book, in which scientific experimentation blends seamlessly with spiritual uses in the Native American Church in the United States and by the Wixarika in Mexico to demonstrate the complicated history of this small cactus. Dawson also problematizes the assumption that only indigenous peoples should consume peyote—that is to say, that nonindigenous peoples who consume the cactus are in some way violating peyote's spirituality.

I found the chapters that emphasized the potential medical effects...

You do not currently have access to this content.