Mushrooms and Other Fungi: Unlimited Potential, Finally Easy to Understand in New Book by Peter McCoy

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Portland, Oregon author releases unprecedented 700-page book on the cultural and ecological importance of mushrooms and other fungi, including in-depth information on growing mushrooms to clean up pollution or start various new industries.

Everywhere you look, mushrooms are popping up in popular culture despite the longstanding fear of fungi in the West. Mushrooms are now being grown to replace packaging materials (1). Researchers have created mushroom-based batteries that may soon compare to conventional lithium-based power cells (2). Even regional mushroom club membership rates are on the rise as more and more vegetable farmers and urban homesteaders seek more affordable ways to identify and grow edible and medicinal mushrooms. With so much excitement and potential surrounding fungi, it is clear that the magic of mushrooms isn’t going to fade any time soon.

And yet, as educator and mushroom cultivator Peter McCoy points out in his new book Radical Mycology, though mushrooms are increasing in popularity, there are still few schools or books in the West that make studying fungi accessible for beginners. The problem is so extreme that mycology (the science of fungi) is acknowledged by many to be a “neglected megascience” that is rapidly disappearing from Western universities, despite its vast significance for humans and the environment (3).

As McCoy notes, “This paradox was what led me to write Radical Mycology. I have been studying fungi for 15 years and personally know how difficult the field can be to grasp. Most books on mycology are highly technical, expensive, or hard to find. It took me years to even master mushroom growing—which I now consider a fairly simple process—solely because the books I had available were very hard to understand. I didn’t want other people to repeat my struggles, especially when the whole science is so important and fascinating.”

To help close this knowledge gap, McCoy’s 700-page text deftly explains the numerous ways that fungi can significantly enhance the health of humans and the planet. Alongside a solid foundation in the biology and ecology of fungi, Radical Mycology teaches various fungal-based practices (e.g. growing fungi to replace plastics or safely degrade used cigarette filters) that can serve as educational activities as well as jumping off points for whole industries. Along with these cutting edge practices, McCoy also outlines the best practices for more traditional hobbies, such as foraging for and cooking mushrooms, while providing some of the most understandable methods for growing mushrooms published to date. As one of the youngest natural sciences, mycology seems to offer no shortage of job opportunities and means for addressing a range of social and environmental issues. By holistically weaving together the science, culture, and mystery of mushrooms and other fungi, Radical Mycology presents these incredible possibilities and much more in what is arguably the most comprehensive and accessible book on fungi ever published.

As McCoy states in the book’s introduction, “Fungi act as central agents in all cycles of life, and it is time that they begin to form a central role in all aspects of human life.” Indeed, as awareness of the importance of the fungal kingdom increases in coming years, it seems that that notion may soon become an undeniable reality, once and for all.


1 Frazier, Ian. "Form and Fungus." New Yorker 20 May 2013.
2 Campbell, Brennan, et al. "Bio-Derived, Binderless, Hierarchically Porous Carbon Anodes for Li-ion Batteries." Scientific Reports 5 (2015): 14575.
3 Hawksworth, D. (2009). Mycology: A Neglected Megascience. In M. Rai & P. Bridge (Eds.), Applied Mycology (pp. 2). Oxon, UK: CABI.

Media: Contact author for interviews or review copies.

The book's Table of Contents, chapter samples, book reviews, and author pictures can be seen here:

The book's publicity release can be seen here:

News pegs and sample interview questions are here:

A high resolution image of the cover is available here:

And a video trailer for the book can be seen here:

Radical Mycology retails for $49.95 and can be purchased at

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Peter McCoy
Radical Mycology
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