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Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier Hardcover – June 18, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455506761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455506767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In a rare journalistic feat, Emily Brady burrowed deep inside an infamous subculture and emerged with a luminous but haunting dispatch about a secretive community of outlaw pot growers--some of whom would rather risk their lives than see their profits crushed by the decriminalization of cannabis. Brady's brave reporting pulls no punches yet makes no judgments as she chronicles four people torn by their allegiances to a place that represents the beauty and ruthlessness of the modern American frontier-and the hypocrisy of the country's drug policy. Humboldt is a triumph of immersion reporting: vivid, compassionate, maddening and unforgettable."
--Jonathan Schuppe, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of A Chance to Win

"Emily Brady escorts you into the redwood-studded mountains of northern California where a secretive marijuana culture thrives-for now-outside the law. Deeply reported and populated with vibrant characters spanning generations, Humboldt documents the real lives behind America's favorite high. A fascinating and timely read."
--David Kinney, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of The Big One

"Emily Brady has written a terrifically gripping book about America's confused relationship with marijuana. A tour-de-force of investigative journalism, Brady takes us inside the world of pot growers in God's own country, and illuminates the policy issues around legalization in a series of beautifully rendered character portraits." --Suketu Mehta, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist MAXIMUM CITY: Bombay Lost and Found

"In her vivid, hypnotic HUMBOLDT, Emily Brady brings the notoriously secretive pot-growing community of Northern California to life through the lives of four very different Humboldters, whose nuanced stories form together like wisps of smoke." -Julian Rubinstein, author of the international bestseller Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

"Emily Brady has written a masterful opus dopus-to borrow a phrase from her book-chronicling the dreams and struggles of a community that has become infamous worldwide for their controversial cash crop. In Humboldt, she takes a clear-eyed look at the marijuana industry: its growers, trimmers, dealers, and family-run businesses. Readers will come away with a newfound and nuanced understanding of pot, but this is really a book about people whose outrageous, funny, and heartbreaking stories you won't soon forget."
--Brooke Hauser, author of THE NEW KIDS: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens

"In her book Humboldt, Emily Brady takes us on a rowdy off-road trip into the homeland of marijuana moonshining, where pit bulls guard the fields, cash fills up holes in the ground, and it's a bad idea to ask anyone you encounter what they do for a living."
--Bruce Porter, New York Times bestselling author of Blow

About the Author

Emily Brady was born and raised in Northern California. A graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, she has written for the New York Times, Time, the Village Voice and other publications. She has reported from Latin America, Europe, Asia and New York City and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

More About the Author

Emily Brady was born and raised in Northern California. A graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, she has written for the New York Times, Time, Village Voice, and other publications. She has reported from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and New York City and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Photo by Caroline Bennett

Customer Reviews

This is an easy book to read with well drawn characters that I won't soon forget.
Grace Pendergraft
There is a lot of colorful and nuanced information embedded in the details and descriptions throughout the book.
Claude Smith
I was happy to find that the book was straight-ahead and the stories very well told.
hey you

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brad Burns on June 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Emily Brady has done what no outside writer to date has been able to accomplish in her compelling narrative of the secretive culture of marijuana growing that began in a remote part of Northern California--she has been able to gain the trust of people on both sides of the law, so that readers can examine for themselves where this industry came from and where it stands today on the cusp of significant changes to the laws that criminalized a plant and created a costly prohibition that scholars, politicians and a growing number of citizens admit has failed even more spectacularly than the 1920 to 1933 prohibition on alcohol in the United States.

The geographical setting of this story is one of the most scenic patches of California's rural Northwestern corner, a landscape so rugged that the coastal highway builders saw it as impassible, avoided it and settled for routing highway 101 through the narrow twisting South Fork of the Eel River canyon to connect San Francisco to the state's northernmost cities of Eureka and Arcata, before winding it's way up the coast to the Oregon border. This is the lush landscape made green by the world's tallest Redwood trees and an equally powerful, though much shorter non-native plant that goes by many names: Marijuana, Cannabis, Pot, Ganja, Hemp, Reefer, Mary-Jane, Weed and a plethora of names for the many cultivars produced by the clandestine farmers who populate the area famously known as The Emerald Triangle.

Through the detailed portraits of the book's four main subjects and supported by many lesser characters, the Drug War's stereotype of the pot grower is unraveled.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Papajo on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bought my copy at COSTCO in Eureka. Very good book. May be less relevant to those not living in this part of the country. I could hardly put it down and read right through it. Hard to imagine the author gathering the information for the book. She must be a very interesting woman to generate the trust needed for the interviews with the characters.

Recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jordan E. Pedersen on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Emily Brady brings her narrative, fluid style to this compelling exploration of the "emerald triangle" community many people are curious about. For people seeking a political lightning rod or something to back up their particular standpoint on the legalization issue, that's not what you'll find. You'll find instead four complex and interesting people living their lives in a world that happens to center around marijuana. Thanks to Brady's incisive reporting and her prose, the book will end too soon!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Outnumbered on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book on a whim, having visited Humboldt County for a week on a "father/daughter" trip. While I had a sense that there was an undercurrent to the area that I didn't understand, I really had no idea what I was missing until reading this book.

The author, in telling the story of 4 main characters throughout the narrative, does a fantastic job of capturing the unseen underbelly of Humboldt from all sides. She does so in an engaging and well-written, easy-to-read manner. It is obvious, even before reading the "Author's Remarks" at the end of the book, that the she made a serious commitment to researching this book, and to gaining the trust of the four individuals that are central to this story. Her approach is one of even-handedness, relating all sides with very little prejudice. While it is apparent throughout that the book is slanted toward an opinion that cannabis should be legalized, the rationale presented along the way is sound and well-developed.

A pleasant and easy read for anyone who has visited the area, or is just curious about how Northern California became the epicenter for domestic cannabis production. Very well done, and my kudos to the author. One of the more thought-provoking books I've read in some time, given that up until a day or two ago, I have been generally on the "pot should continue to be illegal" side of the fence. After reading this book, I'm squarely on the fence, and perhaps tilting a bit towards agreeing with the author.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grace Pendergraft on July 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very well written Book from the point of view of someone who fundamentally understands the culture of a community completely dependent on a criminal activity. I think she tells a very important story as she describes in fairly graphic detail the complexities of living under the shadow of illegality. She describes the "back to the land" roots of this culture and the problems and the benefits of the life style created by illegal marijuana. She shares the drug economy's impact on the children who grow up knowing no other way of life, and how they make their way in the world. She notes that too many die prematurely. She documents the efforts of law enforcement to uphold the rule of law when most community members are antagonistic to such efforts.

This is an easy book to read with well drawn characters that I won't soon forget. I hope Ms. Brady will write more books because we need good journalists. It was a pleasure to read her.
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