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This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America Paperback – September 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Admitting that "so much has been written on drug use and American culture that it would take weeks to roll all of that paper up and smoke it," journalist Grim plunges into the counterculture, the literature, the research, the opposition, the pharmaceutical interests, the media coverage, the kids and users, the heroes and the hypocrites to chart the evolution of drug use in America, covering every illegal high, taking on well-entrenched myths and turning up fascinating stories on current trends-beginning with the end of LSD. Backed by plenty of startling facts (i.e., 1984's drug-related criminal population was 30,000; by 1991 it was more than 150,000), Grim fashions a sharp critique of anti-drug programs ("exposure to anti-drug ads led to higher rates of first-time drug use among certain groups, such as fourteen-to-sixteen year olds and whites") and other policy decisions (President Clinton's approval of NAFTA led to an unprecedented influx of drugs across the Mexican border). Grim isn't all talk, however: he barely survives on-site research during drug riots in Bolivia, goes through a typically fraught trip on ayahuasca, and scouts the battlefields of the fight to legalize cannabis ("In San Francisco, pot clubs quickly outnumbered McDonald's franchises"). This lively, personable history should strike fans of Martin Torgoff's Can't Find My Way Home as a worthy follow-up. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
""One of the theses of This Is Your Country on Drugs -- a cornucopia of unconventional wisdom about our relationship to mind-altering substances -- is that the popularity of drugs waxes and wanes according to a complex sum of factors."" (salon.com, July 20, 2009)
""Mark Kleiman calls it ""Atonishingly clear-headed and well-written, as if someone had taken David Courtwright and added just a splash of Hunter Thompson."" (Mark Klieman, TPMCafe)
""A wide-ranging, fascinating romp through the history of America's insatiable appetite for all manner of drugs, from opium to crystal meth, all the way up to the possibly soon-to-be-illegal hallucinogen Salvia divinorum."" (The Philadelphia City Paper)
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Top Customer Reviews
"This Is Your Country on Drugs..." is the interesting history of getting high in America. "Gonzo" journalist Ryan Grim takes us on a first person tour through many interesting topics covering the impact of policies on the drug use of Americans and why it has been an utter failure. The book is composed of following fourteen chapters: 1. The Acid Casualty, 2. A Pharmacopoeia Utopia, 3. Prohibition, Inc., 4. America's Little Helper, 5. New Coke, 6. D.A.R.E. to Be Different, 7. Border Justice, 8. Kids Today, 9. You Trip, 10.Blowback, 11.Conflicts of Interest,12. Puff, Puff, Live, 13. Cat and Mouse and 14.Acid Redux.
1. For those of us who know little about the drug history in America it was an insightful read.
2. Accessible, conversational and even humorous tone throughout.
3. Well researched book that covers our history with drugs.
4. Plenty of interesting historical tidbits throughout.
5. Mr. Grim does a wonderful job of explaining the impact of policies on the drug culture of America. Interesting how even well intentioned policies fail and why.
6. Jaw dropping to know what drugs were allowed in early America versus now. Bayer Heroin pills, who knew?
7. You get to know the interesting history of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and their social impact.
8. Where did cannabis first came from?? You will know after reading the book.
9. A famous dictator was injected daily with speed, find out.
10. The history on attempts to legalize marijuana.
11. The concept of supply and demand. The impact of NAFTA.
12. The book is as up to date as any book is on the topic.
13. Some great quotes..."Prohibition helps create the very conditions that make prohibition ineffective."
14. Absurd criminal sentencing for minor drug dealers.
15. Interesting statistics abound.
16. Some good and useful links.
1. There is no bibliography. For a book that makes many references this is a crime. The author does make some references in the body of the book but it's a far cry from a typical bibliography. An appendix with notes does not suffice.
2. Glorifies the use of drugs at least that's my impression.
3. A table with most popular drugs with descriptions by era would have been nice.
4. In general, it doesn't get into the drugs impact to the individual user as much as I would have liked.
In summary, "This Is Your Country on Drugs..." was an interesting book to read. It reads fairly quickly because of the interesting topic and conversational tone. It also was quite enlightening and from my point of view politically even handed despite the apparent bias in favor of drug usage. What keeps the book from getting a 5-star review was the lack of a bibliography, lack of a drug table/chart to be used as a reference and the apparent glorification of drugs. In short, a worthwhile, educational read that has something for everybody.
The first premise involves the supply of LSD. I have to admit, I've heard this before myself some time ago, and also what was substituted. So I know he is right there. The second involved Reagan, and despite the claims of detractors of this book, I'm at that right age to remember the 80's becoming the age of Speed/Coke/Capitalism, and the anti-drug ad that through reverse-psychology promoted it. I also remember the pot dealers turning into coke dealers by the mid-80's. The leason we failed to learn is that we are a speed culture going back to WW2.
So we have supply and demand and of course, the new wave of mind manipulation, public relations. Public Relations which the Reagan administration spent tons on to turn him into the God-President he is seen as today. Our own Claudius. Read about VAL's and F.U.D. to understand what I mean.
Thats my view of the first few pages.
Then the book becomes a history lesson going back to the Whiskey Rebellion. In other words, the Prohibition trauma we suffer began with the birth of this nation. I understand better the left leaning mechanism that not only delayed Women's suffrage but perhaps the end of slavery as well. This book, so far, doesn't take ideological sides, and neither should you.
I remember as a student being bored with history books, but loved the sidenotes to history printed in those textbooks because they had context. This is THE comprehensive history of our Country. And instead of having a non-theologian talk to us about theology, this author is trustworthy in that he understands and conveys the subject matter through intellect and experience. The question is, "Can you handle the truth"?
This book will make drug companies, the government and the drug war clear to you. The only other option to this book, is to read all the drug war propaganda past and present that comes from our government, and realize that its the complete opposite of the truth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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