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Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational, and Scientific MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews


Smoke Signals is an important, serious-minded look at the role cannabis has played in American history. He tackles the hard issues of marijuana prohibition with keen insight and righteous indignation. I agree with Lee’s central premise that our marijuana laws are draconian. Every American should read this landmark book!” (Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Cronkite)

"A ripping read, thoroughly researched, Smoke Signals will help inform the current debate and hopefully hasten the demise of prohibition." —David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

"[A] well-reasoned, entertainingly written, and passionate examination of the social and culture war that surrounds the drug."—Booklist

"In this accessible and well-researched analysis, Lee offers a cultural reckoning of cannabis in its many incarnations, spanning from its first recorded utilization in 2700 B.C.E. to the present...a compelling read and an excellent source of information on the topic."—Publishers Weekly

"Smoking a doobie isn’t the worst thing a person could do...and Lee backs that thought up with social history aplenty, ranging from neolithic experiments down to the Kerouac-ian consumers of the Beat Era."—Kirkus Reviews

“Hallelujah and glory be to Smoke Signals, Martin Lee’s bodacious new book…[Lee] chronicles everything and everyone worth chronicling in the annals of marijuana.” (Jonah Raskin High Times)

"Lee…imagines a bright, legal, lucrative future for weed.”—Business Week

“[E]xuberant, richly researched.” (Boston Globe)

"High but not dry...a lively and informative book.” (Detroit Metro Times)

“This is a brilliant book . . . Smoke Signals is destined to be a classic.” (Mikki Norris West Coast Leaf)

“As Martin A. Lee shows in Smoke Signals, his engaging and illuminating new history, marijuana’s contraband status is a result of historical accident, racial prejudice, xenophobia, loads of cultural baggage, and an astonishing amount of ignorance.” (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

“Lee’s new book is the precise educational tool that our country currently needs . . . Smoke Signals should be required reading in every high school history class.” (David J. Brown, author, Mavericks of Medicine)

“[A] clearheaded survey that stretches from 2700 B.C. to the Obama administration.” (James Hughes, Slate)

“[A] delightful surprise . . . impossible to put down.” (Anna Diaz, Real Weedist)

"[T]he best, most comprehensive account of the American marijuana movement(s) to date . . . Smoke Signals is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the contemporary marijuana movement." (Phil Smith Drug War Chronicle) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Martin A. Lee is the author of three previous books, including Acid Dreams (with coauthor Bruce Shlain) and The Beast Reawakens. He is the cofounder and director of Project CBD, an educational service that reports on developments in cannabis science and therapeutics

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469216310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469216317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,605,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David F. Mcginnis on September 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Edit 10/1/12

I have decided to edit this review in order to remove a few merely personal remarks not germane to the text.

I found this in my library in hardcover. There is little new here barring recent research results, but it is very nice to see all the relevant material in one source. By that I mean the plant's background, the history of its use, the rise of prohibition in the U.S. and the idiocy of its continuation, have all been documented elsewhere as the (abundant) annotations show. But up until now it was necessary to go all over the place to get it.

I was a little surprised the author allowed his own feelings on the matter to show so clearly. It is billed as a 'social history of marijuana' and historians are usually pretty good at remaining objective while basing their findings on facts. One assertion presented as fact may be found on page 287 in a discussion of PTSD, "...nearly twice as many [Vietnam vets] would kill themselves after the war..." than died during the war. This really struck me. He gives no reference for this figure unfortunately so I did a little checking. Yes, there are some who make the assertion but it looks like few reliable statistical studies have been done. The VA says the mortality rate among discharged vets was about 1.5 times that of non-vets in their first five years of civilian life. I suppose from that you can extrapolate. I find it hard to accept that over 100,000 suicides have occurred nonetheless. Suicide is hard to diagnose sometimes and you could wrap in accidental deaths, drug overdoses and such to reach that huge number. I know of no one who took their own life after serving fwiw. PTSD sure is wicked if you ever get it, like my wife did after getting hit by a car.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Franklin the Mouse on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before I write this brief review, it would be good for the reader to know that I'm a 53-year-old father of two teenagers and has been happily married for over 30 years. I've tried marijuana four times in my life: a few tokes off a joint in my late teens; two incidences when I unknowingly ate pot-laced pastries during my college years; and once getting seriously baked from unintentionally inhaling second-hand smoke at an Aerosmith concert in the early 1980s. At the last example, I wound up eating an entire bucket of Dunkin' Donut munchkins in my dorm room. I maybe will have a beer or two per year and do not take nor have ever taken illicit drugs beyond the examples above. In other words, no one will mistake me for Charlie Sheen.

With that said, after reading numerous respectable pieces about marijuana, I was at a loss as to why our federal government was freaking out about weed? A mountain of scientific reports over the past hundred years or so have repeatedly shown that it isn't a gateway drug, addictive, NO ONE has ever O.D. on the stuff, it has numerous medicinal benefits, and cannabis has many uses such as petroleum, food, clothing and paper. Mr. Lee's 'Smoke Signals' presents a very thorough history of hippie lettuce. Our laws demonizing it began because of racism towards Mexicans and blacks as well as religious zealotry then snowballed into a federal bureaucratic cash cow and political tool. The author repeatedly shows through heavily annotated examples that marijuana's reputation was and is tarnished due to moral and ideological attitudes. There is plenty of interesting trivia between these pages such as Sears & Roebuck used to sell it. Mr.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Terry Lee on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been interested in the subject since my first experience with it in the sixties, and with the recent passage of the legalizing initiatives, I decided it was worth another look. If you haven't kept up with the research on pot in the last few years, you'll likely be surprised, if not amazed, at the recent findings. The author has provided citations for many of the recent studies that reveal the beneficial effects available with the herb.

It also covers the legal aspects pretty thoroughly. Some of it triggered reactions on my part, as I was a Republican for most of the time, so I had to suck it up and agree that 'my guys' (at the time) were in large part responsible for the psychosis of the Drug War. Actually, there isn't much difference between the two parties, and I don't support either of them any more. For some, it will be an education to see what 'our government' gets up to and how flagrantly they will disregard laws, sanity, sense, and the rights we used to enjoy, in the pursuit of their obsession.

If you were around in the sixties, you should read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Studio Q, LLC (Consignment) on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This should be mandatory for every law maker and citizen to read. Lee gives a complete history of cannabis right through the current medical marijuana phase. The history, the science, and the current events will enlightened you. No more Refeer Madness!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By GregB on September 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Very engaging from beginning to end...this book should anger the public with the amount of misinformation published by the government as truth. Mr Lee has done an excellent job on this project!
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