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This book should be required reading for all doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, medical students, etc, etc. throughout the world, as well as the general public.


It informs us of the deadly, and at least, harmful consequences of using psychiatric drugs of questionable benefit.


“Psychiatric drugs are so harmful that they kill more than half a million people every year among those aged 65 and over in the United States and Europe ---. This makes psychiatric drugs the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.”


Many psychiatric drugs not only increase total mortality but also the risk of suicide and homicide, “while no drug agency anywhere has approved any drug as being effective in preventing suicides”. (Lithium is an exception since it might possibly reduce suicide.)


Widespread overdiagnosis and overtreatment is another serious issue.

The author believes we could reduce our usage of psychotropic drugs by 98% and at the same time improve people’s mental health and survival.


Patients are erroneously informed that their mental disorder is caused by a chronic imbalance in the brain.


Psychiatrists lie to their patients, to themselves and to the public. Official statements exaggerate the benefits of psychiatric interventions by five to ten times and by a similar factor underestimate the harmful effects.


Gøtzsche constantly refers to “silverbacks”, which is his name for those “at the top of the hierarchy” who keep others away from absolute power and give themselves money and fame.


These suffer from “collective, organized denial” and refuse to see the damage they cause despite the overwhelming evidence.


Gøtzsche debunks, among other things, the following MYTHS:

  • psychiatric diagnoses are reliable;
  • the usage of psychiatric drugs reflects the number of people with mental disorders;
  • people with mental disorder have a chemical imbalance in their brain and psychiatrists can fix this imbalance with drugs, just like endocrinologists use insulin for diabetes;
  • long-term treatments with psychiatric drugs is good, as it prevents recurrence of the disease;
  • treatment with antidepressants does not lead to dependence;
  • treatment of children and adolescents with antidepressants protect against suicide;
  • depression, ADHD and schizophrenia lead to brain damage;
  • drugs can prevent brain damage.


We have created a huge epidemic of drug overuse with just as many drug addicts on SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, an antidepressant) as on benzodiazepines.


The way we currently use psychiatric drugs and the way we practice psychiatry cause more harm than good. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, electroshock and admission to a psychiatric ward are more often harmful than beneficial. It is the psychiatrists that think their drugs are effective, not the patients.


We should use psychiatirc drugs “very little, in low doses” and always with a plan for “tapering them off”, Our citizens would be far better off we removed all psychotropic drugs from the market.


“Silverbacks” usually speak with the same voice as the drug industry because it so generously supports them financially.


The author writes well; although the subject is absolutely serious, his style is amusing/ironic/sarcastic, and we are left in no doubt as to his views and the depressing state of affairs within the field of psychiatry, and the harmful/deadly influence of the drug industry on psychiatric patients throughout the world.


“Why is it that leading psychiatrists can’t get enough? Isn’t this behaviour so bizarre, abnormal --- that in accordance with the psychiatrists’ own way of thinking it would be legitimate to invent a diagnosis for it? An appropriate name could be Obsessive Compulsive Disease Mongering Disorder, OCDMD, which could also be short for Obvious Common Desire for Money-making Diagnoses. The diagnostic criteria could be a disturbance of at least six months during which at least five of the following are present:


  • Has been on industry payroll within the last three years.
  • Is willing to put his or her name on ghost-written manuscripts.
  • Believes that getting a diagnosis cannot hurt.
  • Believes that screening cannot hurt, as the drugs have no side effects.
  • Believes that people with psychiatric disorders have a chemical imbalance in the brain.
  • Tells people that psychiatric drugs are like insulin for diabetics.
  • Believes that depression and schizophrenia destroy the brain and that drugs prevent this.
  • Believes that antidepressants protect children against suicide.
  • Believes information from drug companies is useful.


Gøttzsche is supported in his views by many other leading experts throughout the world. He informs us of the dangers of antidepressants, ADHD drugs, antipsychotic drugs and all other psychotropic drugs,  together with the perils of electroshock, We learn what happens in the brain when people are given these treatments,


We learn about the ineffectiveness of antidepressants, the flaws of placebo-controlled trials and the flagrant lies told by the drug companies.


The negative factors of the book are that it has seemingly been primarily written for psychiatrists and thus in places can be difficult for the layman to understand. “Randomised trials” and other such things have not been adequately explained for the layman’s benefit.


I found the book to be an absolutely essential read. Millions of lives could be saved if this book were to be read, taken seriously and acted upon.













Candles on The Ganges - Mr Peter E Upton

This is a well-written, absorbing book. It tells of the shocking, sudden death of the author’s beloved young son, Michael, and his search to ascertain that Michael is thriving in the after-life.


This search triggered the author to train as a medium in order to contact Michael himself, and it also took him to India.


Here Peter encounters many con men, but also a yogi who tells him “a lot of love comes to you on April 21st”, which is Michael’s birthday.


He is advised to contact  a man called Pushpa Raj, an Ayurvedic practitioner who runs an ashram in Delhi and who would be able to recommend good meditation courses. At first, Peter doesn’t manage to meet up with this man but has other good experiences.


As regards the various con men, Peter provides us with an apt statement: “They all speak perfect English, but not one of them understands the word ‘No’”.


Interspersed with the account of the India trip, Peter tells us about Michael and visits to mediums who provide him with information about him. Particularly one medium, Joan, makes a big impression in Peter, and it is she who encourages him to join her medium training group.


We learn about Peter’s successes in his demonstrations of tuning into people who have passed on to the after-life.


He used to be a London taxi-driver and had numerous opportunities to try out his mediumistic gifts with his customers.


He explains that he tunes into the dead by altering his brainwaves, but does not explain how he does so.


Peter’s descriptions of deceased persons whom he contacts via his taxi passengers are exceedingly accurate, and he really seems to have a strong, natural talent for making these contacts, though he has insisted to me in a personal communication that he has not. Methinks he is too modest.


We are given an absorbing description of the Ganga (Ganges), and are told how a Swami Brahmanaga shows him how best to meditate, which he did on the banks of the magnificent Ganges.


He meets with some disabled children and realizes that “the way to heal myself was through helping to heal others”.


His descriptions of India and the Indians he meets are enchanting and illuminating.


As regards yogic sitting-positions, he is taught by one of those he gets to know:


“Always remember being comfortable is more important than appearing correct. Be kind to yourself. If the God you are reaching out to is a loving God  do you think you can reach him while you are being so harsh to your own body?”


Here are some insightful quotes from the book:


“I knew without doubt, that everything is alive and God is in everything.”


“We come from the lake, we live as individual droplets and then we return to the lake.”


We are told that it is an accepted part of Indian tradition that married men keep to a material lifestyle until their children have grown up, after which they are free to renounce all worldly goods and become sadhus; the idea is that the third part of life should be one of spiritual preparation for your own eventual death. (What about women?)


“You do not have to lock yourself away in a monastery or live like a hermit --- to grow in godliness. When you are out there in everyday life, wanting to help others”, due to your compassion, “that is when you are truly progressing spiritually even if you are not an angel”.


Peter is also expert at doing tarot readings and is continually asked to do so by his new Indian friends.


Eventually, he does get the chance to meet with Pushpa Raj, the one he had come to India to consult, and receives from him an accurate astrology reading together with an “amazing” palmistry reading. Then Peter is asked to give the guru a tarot reading, which causes him some consternation. However, his reading is successful, and he receives much praise for his accuracy.


Peter’s book is filled with spiritual information both by way of the various highly developed persons he encounters in India and his own spiritual insights.


A final quote:


“I have also come to believe that through the way we live our lives, the decisions we make, the love we give or withhold, we travel up and down this energy spiral gradually building a spiritual vibration level that is the true us, survives death with us and carries us to the place in the next world where our vibration is in harmony. The higher our spiritual wisdom the further up the spiral we naturally gravitate and the nearer to the Godhead.”


We are also given accounts of Peter’s various spiritual experiences, including an out-of-body experience.


Peter’s final message to us is “Be kind”, which is also what the Dalai Lama tells us is most important.


I firmly recommend that you read this enlightening book, which is also a wonderful memorial to the author’s son, Michael.

All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition - Louise L. Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

My main gripe as regards this book is that it does not seem to have been written by Louise Hay, which obviously I was expecting, because of her name on the cover. (I know she is getting on in age, but still.) If I had known it had been written by Mona Lisa Schultz, apparently alone, I would not have ordered it. The only visible contribution by Louise is her usual affirmations for the various complaints and information about their emotional causes, as we´ve seen in Louise´s previous books. All these are good, of course, but not really new.


Louise does write a “welcome”, where she tells us that she loves and adores her co-author, but this was obviously not enough.


The various chapters are built around the “seven emotional centers” and the illness and complaints pertaining to these. Most interesting were the sections entitled “From the clinic files” where real case histories are described.


There´s too much about medicine, Mona Lisa being a doctor. We are regaled with the names of all sorts of medicines – Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, morphine, codeine, Dilaudid, Demerol, heroin, Oxycodone, Benadryl, Clarinex, Atarax, Allegra ad infinitum. However, the clients whose clinic files are revealed to us generally drop their medicines at some point and are healed by changing their lives around by adopting new positive behaviours, intake of vitamins and other natural healthful preparations.


To sum up, this is a well-written, informative book, imparting much wisdom about the emotional causes of disease, the appropriate affirmations to use for each malady, and so on. However, I was disappointed that the book apparently wasn´t written by Louise Hay, and exasperated by all the references to traditional, harmful medicine.

Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Please note that the version of this book I am here reviewing is one printed in Stockholm in 1945, though the book is in English, so the illustrations would not be the same as in this version.


I suddenly felt the desire to read this book/these stories, though it turned out I had in fact many years ago read “Alice in Wonderland”, since I found the story so familiar.


Obviously these stories are classics, and I couldn´t give them less than five stars.


Alice goes down a rabbit-hole, and then falls down a deep well, and this is how she lands in Wonderland. I found the story charming and entertaining.


I didn´t find “Through the Looking-glass” quite so readable, however, perhaps because I tired of reading a children´s book that was pure fantasy and not filled with the usual sort of information I seek in a book. In this story, as indicated by the title, Alice goes through a looking-glass and finds a world where everything is back-to-front, reversed.


Alice seems to be participating in a chess game and runs around with the Red Queen and the White Queen, meets a Knight, and so on, and eventually becomes a Queen herself (she began as a pawn and made it to the other side of the board),


Lewis Carroll certainly had an amazing imagination. The illustrations are amusing, and when reading certain passages I found myself searching through the book to see whether there perhaps were illustrations of the incidents I was reading about.


I would think these were wonderful stories for a small child, or perhaps not one that is that small, as there are many passages and conversations which require a somewhat developed intellect to comprehend. But I really don´t know whether children of the modern world of TV, TV games, and computers would appreciate them. I can at least recommend them to grown-ups who have retained their imagination and sense of play! Enjoy!


A Zoo in My Luggage - Gerald Durrell, Ralph Thompson

This is another enjoyable and amusing book by Gerald Durrell, an account of one his animal-collecting expeditions to Bafut in the British Cameroons in West Africa. I didn´t know where this was and had to look it up in my atlas; the country must now have changed its name. Previously, while collecting animals in that country, Durrell had been permitted to stay in the Palace of the Fon of Bafut. I don´t know what a Fon is, neither could I find the word in any dictionary, but Durrell states that he was a “potentate”. The Fon in question has innumerable wives and hordes of children; he is tall, elderly, and extremely entertaining. Durrell had written about the Fon following a previous stay with him, but had become afraid that his portrait of him might have been “open to misconstruction” and the Fon might have felt that Durrell had portrayed him as a senile alcoholic. So prior to the present trip he writes to the Fon asking with some trepidation whether he, his wife Jacquie and his team might again be allowed to enjoy his hospitality. It turned out however that the Fon had been most flattered by the unexpected fame he had encountered after being depicted in depth in Durrell´s book (I don´t know yet which one that was); many Europeans had visited the Fon with Durrell´s book in their hands, and the Fon had ended up autographing all these books, as though he himself had been the author! Durrell and wife are accommodated in the Fon´s Rest House and their extra team of two arrives later; many of the locals begin to queue up outside with animals (“beef”) they have collected to sell to them, news of their arrival having hastily spread. We´re apprised of the antics of a baby black-eared squirrel they receive, called Squill-bill small and of Bug-eyes, a needle-clawed lemur. On reading Durrell´s books we realize that each individual animal has its own distinct personality, just as we humans do. When talking to the Fon and the other locals, Durrell and the others use a form of pidgin English, only half of which I for one could understand. The Durrells and the Fon enjoy many entertaining get-togethers, with much dancing, singing and drinking, not least the latter. They are presented with many monkeys, and one of their favourites is a half-grown female baboon called Georgina. She has “a wicked sense of humour”, and this leads to many both amusing and less amusing escapades. Back in England, Georgina runs riot in a large department store, so they require the aid of two constables together with Durrell´s sister Margo to capture her. At the end of the book, Durrell by a stroke of serendipity finds a suitable place to deposit his animals and set up his zoo – in Jersey. Durrell is a master story-teller and recounts innumerable riotous episodes. To sum up, another delightfully entertaining book by Gerald Durrell, though perhaps it does not quite reach the level of “My family and other animals”, which is my favourite. The writing is excellent, there are many fascinating

Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sue Townsend

This is yet another laugh-out-loud Adrian Mole diary. This time he begins the diary at the age of 34, but he is still the same earnest, pedantic, letter-writing Adrian.


He has moved away from his flaky parents’ home into a pricey loft apartment on Rat Wharf, not realizing that there’s a reason for the “rat” appellation. It could also have been called “Aggressive Swan Wharf” for that matter, but we’ll get back to that later.


Adrian is a great admirer of Tony Blair and a staunch believer in the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and is thus a supporter of Britain going to war.


He is a would-be published writer but hasn’t as yet achieved any success in that field; he is working on a book to be entitled “Celebrity and madness” but neither has he yet persuaded any celebrity to allow him to interview him or her on that subject, not surprisingly, considering the title.


Adrian is the arranger of a creative writing group that meets regularly though he does not wholly appreciate the literary efforts of the others. One of the members is the elderly Gladys, who keeps writing soppy poems about cats, such as:

“Poor Blackie’s up in Heaven,

God took her life away,

He said, you’ll go to Devon,

And have a holiday.”


Unfortunately, he has little success in persuading celebrities to visit the group and give a talk; as far as I recall, Cherie Blair doesn't even deign to reply to his letter. Thus, the group rapidly dwindles to only two.


Adrian has two sons, Glenn, 17, who is in basic training in the army, and in danger of being sent off to war in Iraq, and a younger son, William, who now lives with his mother in Nigeria.


Glenn writes frequent letters to Adrian, but unlike his verbally proficient father, Glenn is rather lacking in basic grammar and spelling skills.


Adrian is still madly in love with his childhood sweetheart, Pandora, who is now a junior minister and a household name. He somehow becomes involved with a woman called Marigold and then with her sister, Daisy, even though Marigold is insisting that he marry her. There are numerous complications.


He furnishes his loft apartment with stylish new furniture not to mention curtains for his glass lavatory, whose see-through walls are extremely irritating for the prudish Adrian; but he does so through the kind services of MasterCard and Barclaycard who insist on forcing him to accept thousands of pounds in credit and sending him blank cheques; this, of course, leads to poor Adrian getting into a pretty pickle as far as his finances are concerned.


It now only remains to mention the aggressive swans that inhabit the canal adjacent to Adrian’s abode. The leader of the pack, Gielgud, is “particularly vicious” and takes an instant dislike to Adrian. The town council member to whom Adrian complains fails to understand the problem; they won’t help him get rid of the swans but will grant him  help with conflict resolution work with his supposed neighbour, Mr. Swan, whom they understand to be the source of the problem.


There are many more complications and convolutions in Adrian’s story, including the problems of his parents who can’t find out which romantic partners they wish to have, and those of his gay, blind friend, Nigel.


The book is brilliantly written and uproarious and reminds us of what was going on in Britain and the world in 2002 and 2003. The main theme concerns, of course, Adrian’s obsession with the weapons of mass destruction and the war in Iraq.

Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole - Robert Moss

This is yet another inspiring book by one of my favourite authors, Robert Moss.


Moss holds what he calls “active dreaming” workshops throughout the globe; active dreaming is a “synthesis of modern dreamwork and shamanism”.


In his dreams, he flies “on the wings of a red-tailed hawk” and contacts beings in dreamworld who speak ancient languages. One such being is an ancient Native woman who speaks Mohawk. At first, he did not understand her but later he found Mohawk speakers who were able to translate what he had taken down phonetically. He calls her “Island Woman”.


As a child, he was very ill and died several times but made contact with dream visitors with whom he had conversations in the middle of the night. Due to his illnesses, he experienced soul loss, which ís the main theme of the book.


Now he teaches soul retrieval and soul recovery. Soul retrieval is not a self-help technique and “carries risks and challenges for both the practitioner and the intended beneficiary”. Unwanted entities and energies may have to be extracted. The soul retrieval journey may require travelling to “very dark places in nonordinary reality“ including realms of the dead”.


On the other hand, soul recovery is “a practice in which we help each other to become self-healers and shamans of our own souls”. It does not require us to play shaman for others and it minimizes the risk of dependency and of taking on what does not belong to us.


Moss teaches us to go to the places where lost souls can be found and reclaimed, and how we can help each other do this. In his courses and workshops, he and his students dream together and travel together in group shamanic journeys on agreed-upon destinations. They have made group expeditions “to other cultures, other times, and other dimensions”. What could be more exciting?


In Moss’s courses, students learn how to become dream trackers and accompany friends on their journeys to reclaim soul.


We can “journey across time to understand and resolve issues involving counterpart personalities in the past or the future.” We can also journey to younger versions of ourselves and counsel a younger self at a time of pain or challenge. This can involve tremendous healing for both of us in our own times.


We are connected to the ancestors of our biological families and the ancestors of the land where we live; in order to “open and cherish soul connections to wise ancestors and departed loved ones” we must clear “unhealthy legacies and energy attachments”.


Moss writes; “Once we restore the practice of soul recovery in our society, we --- might wake up and stop having so much trouble in our lives.”


He refers to the famous psychologist Jung’s “The Red Book”, which reveals the latter’s night visions and explorations in the Underworld. Jung goes through Hell  and converses with a Red Devil. Moss describes Jung’s adventures as “a frightful shamanic journey through the many cycles of the Netherworld” and is often revulsed and close to chucking the book across the room.


Moss is proficient in all sorts of both ancient and modern languages and apprises us of the words and phrases in these exotic languages describing the various sorts of dreams, spirits, etc.


We are regaled and illuminated by accounts of “dreams and adventures inside the dream world” shared by Moss’s most gifted participants in his dream courses.


If we wish to be shamans, we should start at the breakfast table and share dreams with our family and friends, “Real shamans are dreamers who know that dreams can be travelling, and that soul speaks to us through dreams,”


We can’t lose spirit, though we can lose contact with it, But when we suffer trauma or violent shock, soul may leave the body to escape. Psychologists call this “dissociation” and shamans call it “soul loss”, Soul loss is a survival mechanism.


Alcohol and drug abuse can also drive soul out of the body; also the brainwashing that occurs in cults may result in major soul loss “as the part of an individual that can think and has an independent will is driven away or taken prisoner”.


Major symptoms of soul loss are as follows:

  • Low energy, chronic fatigue
  • Emotional numbness
  • Chronic depression
  • Spaciness
  • Addictive behaviours
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to let go of past situations or people no longer in your life
  • Dissociation and multiple personality disorder
  • Obesity or unexplained weight gain
  • Abusive behaviours
  • Absence of dream recall
  • Recurring dreams of locations from earlier life, or a self separate from your dream self.



Soul loss is widespread, and sexual abuse is a major cause of it.


“The appearance of animals in dreams carries power and numinosity.” (Barbara Platek)


We see the state of our own vital energy in the nature and condition of our dream animals, just as the condition of the animals reflects our own situation. Active dreamers especially when engaging in shamanic work may develop “working relations with many animal spirits”. Different animals bring different gifts, different challenges call forth different allies.


If you dream of a house with rooms you have never seen, this may be an invitation to discover more of your potential.


“The state of a dream house may reflect the state of body or soul.” It may be in need of repair, which may indicate a health problem. I myself have previously had a period where I kept dreaming of dusty rooms or with walls that needed scrubbing, and in fact began to scrub them in these dreams.


If you keep dreaming of an old home or office where you worked, perhaps you have left part of yourself behind there.


Dream re-entry (including tracking) with the aid of shamanic drumming is perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of Moss’s work/teachings, but I don’t profess to understand how this is done, far less am able to do it; I don’t understand how to reenter a dream and seem to remember Moss stating somewhere in the book that the re-entry is done consciously while awake.


This review barely touches on the possibilities referred to in the book, Moss is an amazingly gifted shaman, and I would regard it as an exceptional gift from the Universe, were I enabled to participate in one of his courses and to learn how to do even a little of the dreamwork he teaches.


I strongly recommend that you read this well-written, erudite, inspiring and enlightening book.