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Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup Paperback – April 3, 2012


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Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup + Super-Charged: How Outlaws, Hippies, and Scientists Reinvented Marijuana + Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I like my nonfiction to be both entertaining and edifying, and Dankness delivers both....If you want to know how the contemporary cannabis industry operates, Heart of Dankness is the book for you. But beyond that, Dankness is a great book for anyone with an inclination towards connoisseurship....the book holds great appeal beyond the world of marijuana aficionados. Take it from a guy who hates reggae: I highly recommend picking up Heart of Dankness, whether you have a doctor’s recommendation or not." -- The Millions

“[A] globetrotting, journalistic trip through the nerdier echelons of marijuana development….an insightful and fascinating story” Los Angeles Review of Books

"Smith's quest is to discover the essence of 'dankness'. . . .a stoner's dream job."
--Publishers Weekly

“Witty, civilized and intelligent narcotourism.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Smith’s colorful and informative report will appeal not only to pot connoisseurs but also to anyone curious to learn why marijuana currently outstrips corn as the United States’ largest cash crop.” —Booklist

"A must-read for those who want to know more about how the best strains in the world came to be the best."  - The 420 Times

"Wickedly entertaining.  Mark Haskell Smith goes on a quest for the world's finest cannabis, and uncovers an obsessive global subculture of artisanal growers, seed botanists and connoisseurs — all of them chronically stoned and fiercely competitive, striving like winemakers to express the terroir of their product and achieve the ne plus ultra of 'dankness.'  Warning: this book may produce an uncontrollable urge to get high." —Richard Grant, author of God's Middle Finger and Crazy River: Exploration and Folly in East Africa
 
"A genially gonzo ride to the top of the cannabis world.  Haskell Smith's prose crackles with unputdownable verve and his affection and enthusiasm for his subject are infectious.  This book will change the way you look at the Cannabusiness." --Heather Donahue, author of Growgirl

About the Author

MARK HASKELL SMITH is the author of four novels, Moist, Delicious, Salty, and Baked, and has written for film and televsion.  A contributor to the Los Angeles Times and a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Smith is an assistant professor in the MFA program for Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Graduate Center.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307720543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307720542
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Haskell Smith is the author of five novels, Moist, Delicious, Salty, Baked, and Raw: A Love Story. He has also written the non-fiction book Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup.

A non-fiction book about the history of nudism: Naked At Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in an Clothing-Optional World is forthcoming from Grove Press in June 2015.

His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Vulture. Smith is an assistant professor in the MFA program for Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Graduate Center.

He lives in Los Angeles. He likes Mexican Food.

www.markhaskellsmith.com or www.heartofdankness.tumblr.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aldo C. on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I just received my copy of Heart of Dankness and I've devoured it. You have to read this book if you want to understand the future of medical and recreational cannabis. Heart of Dankness is much more than a stoners explorations and reflections about finding great pot, its the story about our evolving understanding of the real medical and aesthetic value of cannabis. Personally I liked Chapter 14 the best, the "He blinded me with Science" chapter that features the Cornerstone Research Collective. In the last paragraph of that chapter, Michael Backes, CRC's then-budtender, refers to the Holy Grail of pot as having "..an intensely clear effect. Just Perfect. You have the high-functioning buzz that took the edge off everything and a lingering tickle of joy. Its like a pre-pschedelic tickle. That's what I'm looking for, and I'll find it."...which he plans to do with a mix of science and Mother Terese like devotion to the "cause."...and I hope learn about it when he does find it ;-) BUY THIS BOOK...you'll be glad you did!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany Hawk on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Heart of Dankness is up there with the best of the best of non-fiction. It's the kind of writing that grips you even if you start out with no interest in the topic (think Jon Krakauer on fundamentalist Mormons or Lauren Hillenbrand on horses). Right up front, I will admit that I have a bias - Mark Haskell Smith is a mentor of mine, and as a writer, I buy the books of people I know out of solidarity. But I'll also admit that I planned to drag my feet on reading this one (sorry Mark) because I have no inherent interest in using or reading about marijuana. I expected Heart of Dankness to be a niche book for stoners, but it turned out to be one of the best examples of travel writing that I've read in years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Dolk on July 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was full of useful information, and it will give readers a good understanding of the cannabis culture from the perspective of the people cultivating it for profit and glory. It gave me insight into the future of cannabis cultivation. The author investigates the different cannabis grow methods by spending time with cultivators that are from different walks of life and in different areas of the world, from the scientists to the family business farmers that have been growing for generations. He visits with people that have a similar goal and different approaches. It is written with much humor, and it might be my age, but I related well to all of it and got the education of the marijuana seed industry that I didn't have access to before. I really also appreciated the first hand investigation, and no hearsay. I am still searching for the perfect "dank' for me. Like Mark, I plan on enjoying the journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adrian on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Haskell Smith, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, offers a very expansive look into the world of cannabis, if from the perspective of an uniformed observer. The book takes place in a number of major global cities, examining in each the reaction of weed connoisseurs and consumers to the gray-area political and social treatment of their "medicine" of choice. Though a lot of fascinating information is packed fairly efficiently into the span of a few hundred pages, for me, there were two limitations that dropped this potential five-star book to four stars - the first being, as mentioned earlier, that Smith drops himself into the marijuana world without much prior knowledge of the biology or culture of weed. Though perhaps to most readers this is a good thing as they are in his very position and it allows him to explain basic concepts that perhaps a more experienced smoker might not think to ponder or explain, the book offers less and less to those with more knowledge of the subject. The second point is that the very skills that I'm sure make Smith a skilled journalist - his ability to summarize a person's most defining features in a one to two sentence epithetical statement - lend strength to his introductions to the many characters we meet on his journey, but ultimately produce a somewhat shallow read due to his inability to dive into the very nature of the people he meets, which prevents us, the readers, from exploring a very interesting question: what drives these people to take up a profession with such a strong stigma built in? On the whole, though, the book offers a rare look into a world about which we would profit to know more. I'd recommend the book to anyone curious about trying, or knowing more about, cannabis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Karpinski on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
But it's really a popular culture anthro study that's actually readable---funny, acutely observant, and an excellent primer on the various cannabis subcultures. More to the point is the author's premise that cannabis shouldn't be a subculture at all. As Haskell Smith explains at length, this plant has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes around the world (marijuana will grow anywhere) as long or longer than the fermented beverages humans hold dear---and not just to "get high" either. Besides its psychoactive properties, marijuana is a vasoconstrictor, a muscle relaxant, and a potent anti-nausea remedy. The U.S. insistence that it is a dangerous drug is a product of 20th century hype which we've inflicted on the rest of the world. As Smith notes, "Nobody objected to ganja until people started smoking it for fun."

Seriously---the plant appears to have a number of medicinal properties but thanks to U.S. drug policy, nobody can research its possibilities without the very real possibility of doing time. Heart of Dankness has a lot to say about United States imperialism in the twenty-first century.
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