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Lorenzo Costa
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RADICAL MYCOLOGY: A TREATISE ON SEEING & WORKING WITH FUNGI by Peter McCoy


Source: By permission of Peter McCoy

Publisher: ChthaeusPress

Summary

Fungi are found throughout the world, often playing critical roles at the center of all ecological webs. As culturally important foods and medicines, as well as instigators of religious practices, they have been intimately tied to the development and spread of human cultures. And yet, despite their numerous influences on the history of the world, fungi are completely disregarded by the majority of people today.

In 2006 Peter McCoy founded Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the many ways to work with fungi for personal, societal, and ecological health. Nearly a decade later, McCoy has written Radical Mycology to share the wide array of skills and insights that have arisen from the organization’s international work to advance the science of appropriately applied mycology. Shattering commonly held beliefs on the value of the Fungal Queendom, Radical Mycology definitively explores the many reasons that fungi should no longer be ignored, but instead honored and embraced for the countless gifts they offer. The result is one of the most comprehensive books on mycology—the science of fungi—ever published.

Interwoven with short essays on the lessons of the fungi, Radical Mycology begins with chapters that explore the uniqueness of fungal biology, the critical ecological roles of micro and macro fungi, skills for accurately identifying mushrooms and mycorrhizal fungi, the importance of lichens as indicators of environmental health, and the profound influences that fungi have held on the evolution of all life and human cultures. With this foundation laid, the reader is then equipped to work with the fungi directly. Techniques for making potent fungal medicines, growing fermenting fungi for food, and cheaply cultivating mushrooms using recycled tools (and yet still achieving lab-quality results) are explored in-depth. Subsequent chapters grow far beyond the limits of other books on mushrooms. Detailed information on the principles and practices of what McCoy calls "regenerative natural mushroom farming"—a practice largely influenced by the design system of permaculture—is presented along with extensive information on cultivating mycorrhizal fungi and the science of mycoremediation, the application of fungi to mitigate pollution in our homes and environment. Concluding the book are deeper insights into the cultural effects that fungi present, from a philosophical reflection of fungal growth in the design of human societies, to an exhaustive examination of the history of psychoactive mushrooms.

Throughout this journey, McCoy offers personal and thought-provoking insights into experiencing fungi, based on his 15 years of practice and study in the field. In the end, the reader is left with the means to integrate mycology into any aspect of their life, community, or environment.

With step-by-step protocols for beginner to advanced processes, hundreds of photographs and illustrations, over a dozen appendices, and 100 species profiles, Radical Mycology is an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in Do-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Together) homesteading, community organizing, food security, natural medicine, grassroots bioremediation, and the evolution of human-fungal-ecological relations. More than a book on mushrooms, Radical Mycology is a call to ally with fungi in all efforts to spawn a healthier world. Heavily referenced and illustrated by the author, this unprecedented treatise will undoubtedly remain a classic for generations to come. (Source: chthaeus press )



Where to get it?

chthaeus press



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John Saltveit
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Lots of details! It looks like the biggest book I've ever seen on mushroom and mycelium cultivation and use.
John S
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tiffany thrasher
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wow that book looks absolutely amazing. i love the cover so much, i want it as a poster on my wall. thank you for sharing this!
 
Burra Maluca
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tiffany thrasher wrote:wow that book looks absolutely amazing. i love the cover so much, i want it as a poster on my wall. thank you for sharing this!


Looks like you're in luck - Limited Edition Radical Mycology Cover Poster
 
Casey Williams
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I absolutely recommend buying this book. It is packed with information on an under appreciated and often overlooked Kingdom. This book is SO good. I was able to attend a talk that Peter gave last November and I really appreciated his openness in talking to interested parties of all levels of knowledge as well as his willingness to share information in general. Radical Mycology is important to the field, for both myconauts and the general public!!
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Get ready it will be in promotion soon.... keep an eye on the dailyish email announcement!!!
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Casey Williams wrote:I absolutely recommend buying this book. It is packed with information on an under appreciated and often overlooked Kingdom. This book is SO good. I was able to attend a talk that Peter gave last November and I really appreciated his openness in talking to interested parties of all levels of knowledge as well as his willingness to share information in general. Radical Mycology is important to the field, for both myconauts and the general public!!


Thank you Casey you confirm our thoughts about it. If you have the book why don't you post a review of it in this thread, it would be great!
 
John Ruckman
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Is it possible to grow edible fungi on a city lot.
 
Hope Willis
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My Better Half is really looking forward to getting his hands on this book! He has this mad but ingenious idea of using myco-rafts to help clean up plastic in the ocean.
 
Peter McCoy
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John, yes! Fungi can be grown anywhere!
 
Michael Grant
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John Ruckman, yes you can. See the KC Urban Farming Guys, for example:



They saturated the ground with a morel mycelium solution and are reporting good success with it.
 
Lisa Allen
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Wonderful looking book for sure! This looks like it would be a fabulous compliment to the identification book I have called Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers (met him at a Montana Herb Gathering, fabulous teacher!) I have thought also about joining a mycology foragers group here locally, although likely not the quantity or variety in SoCal as in NorCal or PacNW. Nice! Placing this in my wish list
 
Peter McCoy
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Thanks Lisa!
 
carol dacanay
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I need to give growing mushrooms a try! What is the best way to get started?
 
Linda Williams
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Fungi grows all around my area. I am looking for a class locally to find edible mushrooms. Would love to win the Radical Mycology book but will purchase it if I don't, definitely a book to have for reference.
 
Robbie Asay
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I just wanted to pop in to say thank you for having the drawing for this book! I thought I'd give a quick and small review now that I've had some time to look it over a bit. In fact, due to the sheer size of this book(over 600 pages!) it's going to be a rather minuscule review! At almost 2" thick and weighing in at 5 lbs this is not a book for some light reading!

As I mentioned and will again; this book is HUGE. Whatever you want to know about having fun with fungi's is probably in here. I have NOT read it cover to cover as that's going to take some time to do.

The first thing I noticed about the book is that it is indexed very well which even extends to the paper side of the book having black ink rectangles indicating the chapters. I haven't seen that in quite awhile. The 2nd thing I noticed is that it's chock full of pictures and illustrations throughout which will be a wonderful thing for a budding shroom grower such as myself. In fact, much of what I'm going to do will be experimental in nature which this book also covers on various ways to start growing. It's not going to be as easy for me as the guy a few miles from me that has a metal shed and grows them from plastic garbage bags. I'll be moving to the high desert!

It starts with how various fungi are named and ends with identification. There is so much in between that I'd get hand cramps typing a list out. The center of the book has color plates of various fungi and lichens with an index in the center identifying what you are looking at. This leads me to the only negative I have. In the "Species Profiles" at the end of the book all of the pictures are black and white. For someone such as myself who has never been out harvesting let alone knows much beyond the grocery store selection of white button, portabello, crimini and shiitake this can present a huge challenge. However, since this book is way too big to be carrying around in your day-pack a small field guide with color pictures will be the more practical hiking through the woods friendly option.

If you have a knack for the scientific Radical Mycology has you covered! I've had to reread a few things to get a grasp on it but I wouldn't claim it too difficult as I have poor analytical skills but could eventually catch on. Don't let that dissuade you from giving a read a go! Definitely start at the preface because you get a really nice description of where Mr. McCoy is coming from and how to read the book. He definitely put a lot of thought into how to pack in as much information as possible without it being so difficult to understand that you'd put it down and never pick it up again. As yet I haven't run into the kitchen sink yet but expect to at any time.
 
Burra Maluca
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I've received my copy a few days ago. You could say I'm impressed...

For those of you interested but still not convinced if the book is for you, here are two videos which might persuade you.



 
Casey Williams
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Lorenzo Costa wrote:
Casey Williams wrote:I absolutely recommend buying this book. It is packed with information on an under appreciated and often overlooked Kingdom. This book is SO good. I was able to attend a talk that Peter gave last November and I really appreciated his openness in talking to interested parties of all levels of knowledge as well as his willingness to share information in general. Radical Mycology is important to the field, for both myconauts and the general public!!


Thank you Casey you confirm our thoughts about it. If you have the book why don't you post a review of it in this thread, it would be great!



Sorry for the delayed response, Lorenzo. I had not realized your request until yesterday. And I see that Robbie has given a short review of the book, too. Well, I'm no writer and I have never written a book review, but I'll give it a shot....no promises. The bottom line is that I would definitely recommend getting this book!


'Radical Mycology's' subtitle, 'A Treatise On Seeing & Working With Fungi,' is an apt one. On one side there is much information on how fungi are named, what exactly they are, how they behave, differences between different fungi, etc. On the other side Peter goes into utilizing these amazing creatures by discussing wildcrafting, medicinal properties, indoor cultivation, outdoor cultivation, and mycoremediation. The final chapter on psychoactive fungi is also important culturally, to understand where we have come from in our relation to fungi and possibly where this delicate relationship will lead us. All of this information is broken down into Parts and Chapters that have a logical flow. As Robbie mentioned in a previous post, Peter describes how to best utilize the information in the book, and that is by reading it front to back. Each chapter sets the stage for following chapters, each one being building blocks for furthering the reader's understanding of fungi.

Whether you are a beginner, or a seasoned mycophile, you will get A LOT from 'Radical Mycology'. Do not let the size of this book deter you, as the information contained within is easily approachable. That being said, there were some sections of the book that were a bit too technical for my current level of understanding in mycology. Those that are beyond my level of understanding will certainly enjoy the in depth scientific exploration and deepening mycological theories that Peter presents at times. I hope to some day better understand these subjects myself! Even in sections where I was struggling to understand something, a turn of the page would reveal another jaw dropping fact or detail about fungi that made me want to keep reading....and keep reading.

Each chapter is quickly referenced through the black "tabs" on the edges of the pages of the book. I have found myself (easily) flipping open to different chapters over and over again to review a section or remind myself of a cultivation method. There is SO much awesome information in this book that it is hard to convey. In addition to the straight forward information about fungi, there are some radical theories put forth by Peter that will most definitely benefit not only the mycological community, but all communities in the years to come. Additionally, there is a wonderful permie feel to the book. Peter directly mentions permaculture at one point, and further eludes to permie practices many times throughout the text. Finally, the indices are a valuable resource unto themselves. Fungi identification forms, cultivation media recipes, jokes, a really fun game, and an amazing chart of cultivation parameters are only a few of the topics that are indexed.

A heavy hitter all around, 'Radical Mycology' is a book that has compiled information from pioneers in the field and at the same time added a lot of new information to the field through Peter's research, trials, and love for fungi. His passion and knowledge are apparent to anyone who takes the time to sit down and crack open this extremely useful text. 'Radical Mycology' is an invaluable tool for all to gain a better understanding of these intelligent beings and hopefully continue to forge meaningful relationships with them well into the future.
 
John Saltveit
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Book Review: Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy
This is a tremendous book.  First of all, it is more than 600 pages long, and it comprises many topics related to mushrooms.  There are chapters on understanding how fungi work, their evolutionary history, medicinal fungi, lichens, human history with fungi, cultivating fungi, remediating the soil with fungi, psychedelic fungi, details on particular mushrooms, dyes, cultural issues with fungi, and types of food created by fungi.

It reads very well, and McCoy is able to dole out the information in a way that is understandable to both beginners and experts.  It is sometimes astonishing how much information he has gleaned over the years about fungi and how they relate to everything else.  He has a firm understanding of all the scientific issues and related areas of controversy.  He has decided to be clear about how he looks at some of the more controversial issues, while acknowledging that there are other reasonable points of view.  This is definitely a book that I would want to own, to be able to continue rechecking the amazing level of detail in each area.  It is an expensive book, but if you think about how much you will learn and be able to do by having this book, it is well worth it.  The only thing I would have wanted more of is narrative detail about the individual mushrooms.  A few years ago, I thought paul stamets’ book “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” was the book to buy to learn about mushrooms, and it was.  Then I thought that Tradd Cotter’s book, “Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation” was the book to get on learning about mushrooms and it was.  Now I think the book to get is Peter McCoy’s “Radical Mycology”.  I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.
John S
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