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

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Witty, civilized and intelligent narcotourism."
Kirkus Reviews

"Heart of Dankness as dank as its subject: a mind expanding look through the world of competitive, secretive, marijuana growing obsessives, and the quasi-legal world they inhabit.  Be forewarned, this book will saddle you with a severe case of 'couch lock', rooting you to the sofa until the very last page.  Come prepared with snacks."
—David Sax, author of Save the Deli
 
'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: Baked, Salty, Delicious, and Moist, and has written for film and television. 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: Signal; First Edition edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771039700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771039706
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,392,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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I live in LA and have smoked for 40 years. I have been a Medical MM patient for the last five years after growing my own for 15 years. I went to Amsterdam for four days ten years ago (no, not for the Cup unfortunately) to check out the pot scene for myself. In other words, I have done many of the things he writes about in this book. It all pretty much hit it on the head, even though the quality of any given strain is so subjective it is difficult for me to understand how people can give awards. Last week I ended up going to the GGR dispensary he referenced in the early portion of the book and bought some "zeta", the strain he raves about. It was very good, another indication of the accuracy of the book. So if you are interested in cannabis and the entire subculture that surrounds it, then this book is for you.
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The world of cannabis is enormous. This book does a good job of describing a very influential and interesting segment of the high end cultivator scene. If you're curious about where legalization is headed and who is shaping the business, I highly recommend this book as a place to start.
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This is a very informative, and fun book to read! He discusses the topic accurately and efficiently and manages to put you into his mind set! Really great book to read, now I have to go find some dankness!
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A great tour of the world of cannabis, from genetics to world championship contests to under-the-radar growers, this book is a must for all those interested. By turns informative, funny and even poetic, the author tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the world's most underground plant.
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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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