What would you say to the possibility of a riveting, yet thoroughly academic, nonfiction page-turner? Stephan V. Beyer's tour de force, Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, is nothing less! Building an inclusive bridge between a layman's accessibility and comprehensive scholarly research, Beyer has effectively embodied and integrated his intellectual understanding and knowledge with years of first-hand experiential encounters with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines of Upper Amazonia. Dr. Beyer holds a degree in law and doctorates in both psychology and religious studies, but these are obviously only some of his interests and talents. His eclectic background has led to stints as a university professor, trial lawyer, community builder, and wilderness guide, and it was his interest in wilderness survival that initially brought him into contact with medicinal plants and their potential. His skillful, often poetical word-phrasing lends such depth and artistry to his research results that a reader hardly knows where to look to be most impressed. As he studied and learned more about the survival skills of indigenous people, it became apparent to Beyer that "wilderness survival includes a significant spiritual component—the maintenance of right relationships both with human persons and with the other-than-human persons who fill the indigenous world." In addition, Beyer's spiritual background and interest in Buddhism and Tibetan language shapes his connection to the transcendent and also establishes a deep recognition of the unifying bond between all sentient beings. Beyer states that his intention in writing the monumental Singing to the Plants (400 pages of well-researched information and knowledge gained from years of actual time in the Amazon Jungle), "is a result of my own need to make sense of the mestizo shamanism of the Upper Amazon, to place it in context, to understand why and how it works, to think through what it means, and what it has meant for me." So, this seminal work springs (as all good work does) from Beyer's own hunger to put together the many threads of his own story. As the book unfolds Beyer's own tale is presented in the context of his relationship with two remarkable teacher-healers of the Upper Amazon: Dona Maria Luisa Tuesta Flores and Don Roberto Acho Jurama. Beyer stated that the purpose of this volume "is to try and understand who they are and what they do—as healers, as shamans, as dwellers in the spiritual world of the Upper Amazon, as traditional practitioners in a modern world, as innovators, as cultural syncretists, and as individuals." It is when talking about his teachers that Beyer is most revealed as a humble and thoughtful human being. He does not engage in excessive fawning or synchophantish pedestalization, but presents them as real people with flaws and foibles, as well as remarkable reservoirs of knowledge. Throughout the narrative Beyer informs and educates, opening doors to another world, a world he clearly respects, embraces, and even loves. He escorts us up the threshold and through this doorway describing in detail such subjects as: (1) the ayahuasca ceremony, (2) shamanic performance, (3) the shamanic landscape, (4) learning the plants, sounds, 5) phlegm and darts, (6) initiation, (7) spirits, (8) sex, (9) harming, (10) healing, and (11) vomiting, among 35 total chapters.