If you've found the writing of Terence McKenna interesting and thought-provoking, then you should consider this book an immediate must-read. However, Pinchbeck's book deserves to be read (and hopefully WILL be read) by a much wider cross-section of society than McKenna's. One of the problems inherent to writing about psychedelic experiences is that the nature of the experience itself makes describing it through the written word extremely difficult. I think Pinchbeck has done an incredible job of bridging this gap (to the extent that is indeed possible) and relating his experiences in a way that even someone who has never touched a psychedelic substance can begin to understand.
While that in itself is an important achievement, I think the real value of this book lies in the moral and ethical issues it ultimately poses for the reader...and this includes both those who've used these types of drugs, as well as those who've never even had a beer. The issues of corporate greed, ecosystem destruction, and blatant consumerism have never been more relevant to our society; the author addresses these issues with thought-provoking insight, and offers some extremely interesting and somewhat frightening ideas about the future of the human race....ideas that seem to have been catalyzed, but NOT created, by his use of psychedelics.
In my opinion, that's where the real value of this book lies, and the reason it should be a rewarding and worthwhile read for anyone who considers himself a concerned, active, thinking member of society and the human race. It would be a tragedy if potential readers overlook this and skip the book based on a preconceived notion about the subject matter.
Okay, so he ain't Wittgenstien, but neither was Ludwig. Pinchbeck deserves a decicive clap on the back for his feverish, foolhardy romp into the unknown. To those who pooh pooh him, I ask--what have you done for me lately? This is Kapucinski meets Casteneda in a dread-laced Holographic Universe, and if you feel that intellectual rigor is lacking, or that the author relies too much on Benjamin's politics, I ask you when you last met the splinter-faced god of the forest? I feel that Pinchbeck is earnest and refuses to pose as a guide when he is in fact nothing but a balsy, intellectual Brooklinite who grew bored with chatter-mouthed literati and with himself--so he decided to cast the eternal dice and record his findings with talent and intelligece that may not be first rate, but are, nevertheless, uncharateristic of our time. In sum: a pip.