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Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade Paperback – February 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; First Edition, First Printing edition (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...instantly political and deeply personal..." -- Robert Allen, WWW.BLUEGREENEARTH.COM, April 2005.

About the Author

Chellis Glendinning, Ph.D, is a psychologist, writer and lecturer. An award-winning activist and writer, she is the author of four previous books, including Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy (New Society, 2002) which won the National Federation of Press Women 2000 book award for general nonfiction; My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization (Shambhala, 1994), and When Technology Wounds: The Human Costs of Progress (William Morrow, 1990). He lives in Chimayó, New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA on December 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Every now and then somebody comes along who acts as a bridge or emissary between two cultures. Not as a missionary out to "improve," "evolve," or Christianize the natives, or to sell them slicker TV sets; not to study them like infusoria under a microscope; not to turn their gods into meteorology; but to listen, deeply, into the patterns of their life and language, and then--strictly by invitation within that community--to create a thing of beauty that casts a circle of illumination over what had remained hidden in the shadows cast by the mainstream.

In Chimayo, New Mexico, that emissary is Chellis Glendinning.

At one time Chimayo ranked #1 in drug overdoses in a state (New Mexico) that also ranked first in this grim category. This book is a story--personal, cultural, wrenching, hard to read in places because disturbing in its detail--of how the Chicanos and Mexicanos of Chimayo went back to their cultural roots to push the dealers out of their town, then apply the wisdom of those roots to healing the victims of the dragon Chiva, "heroin."

The use of "roots" is deliberate, because as the author makes clear, the drug problem is a product of a long tradition of colonial expansion and devastation in which a land-based people have been globalized, exploited, and thrust into poverty on soils their ancestors once cultivated and loved. From out of that soil came the remedies to combat sniffed, smoked, and injected poisons which users employ to forget for a moment that they are poor; that they have few options and scarce employment; that they are seen by the culture that has alienated them as aliens.

Whence this black-market plague of Thebes?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Don H. Ford Jr. on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Chiva paints a picture of Chimayó New Mexico, number one per-capita consumer of heroin in the number one per-capita consumer state in the United States. The book also offers a well-researched history of the global heroin trade from past to present. The picture is ugly indeed.

For those advocating legalization (of hard drugs) as the remedy to this problem, I suggest reading this and then asking yourself: is this the kind of country I want to live in? And for those that think the current plan in the war on drugs is working, I have the same suggestion. Quite obviously it is not working and will not cure the problem.

The author points out that at one time heroin was legally introduced to China. The result: over one quarter of the adult population became hopelessly addicted. In Chimayó, the supply was plentiful, with an individual dose costing $15, but anyhing not nailed down was likely to be stolen. Overdoses and shootings were common events. A friend of mine from a barrio full of tecatos in Juarez speaks of the same.

Anywhere heroin has been introduced without control to a population, usage of the drug has increased exponentially. With disastrous consequences.

The writing is good and kept me interested from start to finish. But I think the weakness of the book comes near the end where solutions to the problem are offered. There, you'll find more questions than answers.

I highly recommend Chiva for anyone interested in the drug problem or the region described in the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By xian on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
The bibliography and research notes alone justifies the price of the book. The stories of one small town and of 20th Century Globalism are artfully interwoven. Altogether, it's inspiring in a painful, eye-opening sort of way.

Contrary to "About the Author", Chellis Glendinning is a she, not a he.
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