Shortly before Christmas I was able to contact author Bill Drake, one of the few men brave enough to author authoritative books on the cultivation of two of the gods gifts to man; Marijuana and Tobacco. Bill was gracious enough to send me a copy of his newly revised and much expanded "The Cultivators Handbook Of Natural Tobacco" for review and reference.
It would be hard to imagine that one could find a more concise and helpful manual for the cultivation of this wonderful ethenogen which we humans have found use for over the past couple thousand years and which the Native Americans shared so freely with us upon our arrival here in the New World. It need not be said but the United States of 1700's-1900's owes much of it's economic gains and relevance to this plant.
Bill gives us the rundown here; history, cultural relevance, uses, seeding, planting, topping, suckering, curing, fermenting, and flavoring all in his wonderful and personable tone of writing. It's not so much like reading as it is like having Bill stand in front of "class" and relate to us why we might want to raise this controversial crop, how to do so, and how to possibly reap the financial gain from the crop as well as why we should grow such wares to if nothing else alleviate the world of the commercial beast that has overtaken this wonderful form of plant.
Make no mistake about it though, he's not advocating abuse, nor really use, just making us well aware that it's here to stay and what might prompt one to try tobacco, particularly Natural tobaccos and to be even more precise, the more psychoactive forms once enjoyed by Native Americans in both the north and south in their very diverse forms. Even though Bill is "teaching" us through the text it never feels like he's forcing us to listen or treating us as though we are his students, simply instead this modern day Shaman is sharing his Gnosis (knowledge) with the uninitiated. Beautifully I might add.
Oh, did I mention indoor growers that he also caters some information for your particular setup? Something your unlikely to find elsewhere in pertinence to tobacco.
Bill also gives us all the info needed (to the uninitiated I might add as plant breeders have had access for some time) to access some rare varieties of tobacco housed by the USDA's ARS GRIN germplasm program and even gives us a wonderful source of digital documents in the public domain related to all areas of tobacco farming and processing. The mid-section of the book gives us excerpts from many of these digitally archived and long out of print publications.
The later section of the book gives us a personal look into the negatives of pursuing the addiction of commercial tobaccos from Bill's own familial experience loosing loved ones to addiction, giving us a final bit of much needed information to inform our judgement of plant and farmer vs. business men and government.
All in all a well rounded manual which could play an important part in the liberation of smokers as well as the economic freedom of farmers and a valuable addition to the library of any Shaman.
An absolute must have for anyone preparing for the proverbial SHTF moment as well. Five stars.
-Alan Reed Bishop