Cannabis: A History

( 2 )

Overview

"In this study, Martin Booth crafts a tale of medical advance, religious enlightenment, political subterfuge, and human rights, of law enforcement and custom officers, cunning smugglers, street pushers, gang warfare, writers, artists, musicians, and happy-go-lucky hippies and potheads." Booth chronicles the fascinating and often mystifying process through which cannabis, a relatively harmless substance, became outlawed throughout the Western world, and the devastating effect such legislation has on the global economy. Above all, he demonstrates
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Overview

"In this study, Martin Booth crafts a tale of medical advance, religious enlightenment, political subterfuge, and human rights, of law enforcement and custom officers, cunning smugglers, street pushers, gang warfare, writers, artists, musicians, and happy-go-lucky hippies and potheads." Booth chronicles the fascinating and often mystifying process through which cannabis, a relatively harmless substance, became outlawed throughout the Western world, and the devastating effect such legislation has on the global economy. Above all, he demonstrates how the case for decriminalization remains one of the twenty-first century's hottest topics.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Booth, author of a sweeping history of opium, now offers a global history of cannabis, especially its production and uses as hashish and marijuana. In doing so, he tracks the plant's biological, pharmaceutical, medicinal, religious, cultural, literary, social, and regulatory history from ancient China and India, through the Middle East and Africa, into Europe and the Americas, and finally to middle-class American suburbs, Amsterdam coffee shops, and recording studios everywhere today. Cannabis has proved a versatile and variable plant, spreading on the trade winds and through commerce, conquest, and countercultures. Booth does much to debunk the many myths surrounding cannabis and the onus as a supposed stimulant for violent, antisocial, Communist, and other disruptive behavior with which antidrug forces sought to link it, instead pointing out its often beneficial effects in art, literature, music, and pain relief and its benign effect on human relations. Booth tips his hand for the decriminalization of marijuana but otherwise gives a remarkably "cool" account of a plant that people round the world, to paraphrase the Beatles, had to get into their lives. Get this book instead.--Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An investigation of the culture of hemp, the most widely distributed hallucinogenic on Earth. The cannabis industry is huge, certainly. It is a major crop worldwide, surpassing, for example, logging in British Columbia. It is farmed in basements everywhere. Hemp regularly makes the happy trek from Tangier and Nepal, Kabul and Amsterdam, Jamaica, Bombay and Brooklyn in the forms of marijuana and hashish. Hemp can be used for food, fuel, and fiber, but novelist Booth's (A Very Private Gentleman, Jan. 2004, etc.) wide-ranging report concentrates on the fun many derived from Mary Jane and hash. It can be traced back in the day of our Neolithic forbears, the classical civilizations of Greece, Rome, and China. Indians and Arabs used cannabis in one form or another and the eating or smoking of it blossomed in England and America. Thomas Wedgwood tried it and Louisa May Alcott featured the stuff in a story. It was used, notes Booth, by Satchmo, Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Keith Richards, Robert Crumb, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and many, many others, including the fictional Dr. Fu Manchu. Difficulties increased a couple of generations ago with the onslaughts of head federal narc Harry J. Anslinger. The 20th-century war on drugs seems to be a loser, possibly because usage does not seem to be all that harmful. While he doesn't deny some possibly allied ill effects (like crashes involving a stoned "train driver" and a high pilot), Booth tells of the scientific exaggerations repeated by the press without basis: "The war on cannabis is being fought from a concern not for public health or order . . . but for public morality." Before reaching that conclusion, the indefatigable author presents much of theliterature, mythology, horticultural science, pharmacology, political and social history, the uses and misuses of the vegetation so friendly to mankind as balm and analgesic. Along with Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness (2003), this could become a staple at neighborhood head shops. Readable and comprehensive, loaded as fudge: the only hash book you'll ever need.
From the Publisher
“Booth tells this story with admirable restraint…this book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in human freedom and bad laws.”
Independent

“So good that no one will need to do another for at least fifty years…mesmerizing detail, fantastical digressions, lots of jokes and wry asides that give you so many giggles.”
Literary Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312424947
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 678,176
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Booth is an internationally known, Booker-prize shortlisted novelist and writer. He is considered an authority on everything from the history of Chinese organized crime syndicates to the conservation of the African rhino. His Opium: A History is regarded as the definitive book on the subject. He lives in Devon, England.

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Table of Contents

1 The fragrant cane 1
2 Out of the land of mulberry and hemp 16
3 A fibre of all seasons 27
4 The shrub of emotion, the morsel of thought 38
5 Myths and murderers 48
6 The herb Pantagruelion 56
7 A La Mode Du Hachisch 64
8 The pastor's son from Poughkeepsie 76
9 Cannabis R[subscript x] 89
10 Loosening the girders of the soul 98
11 Conventions, commissions and contraband 111
12 Mary Jane, cockroaches and the blues 127
13 When the legend became fact, print the legend 144
14 New York, New York 161
15 Star-buster 171
16 Dora, bebop and the vipers of London 182
17 The beats 193
18 Turning on, tuning in and riding the bus 205
19 Ashrams and the agents of change 227
20 The times they were adjusting 240
21 Island in the sun 258
22 Swinging in London, stoned in Amsterdam 269
23 The universal friend 283
24 The balm of hope 292
25 The industry of dreams and dollars 302
26 Fudge, counter-fudge and the future 313
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cannabis setting the record straight!

    Marijuana, pot, joint,leaf, ganja, cannabis sativa. Very polarizing stuff. Either it's seen as a gateway drug, leading the user toward harder and more dangerous drugs; or it's a harmless relaxant, a social lubricant less dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol. It's either a crime that gets you arrested; or a medicinal godsend capable of easing incredible physical pain.

    This book provides a detailed look at cannabis, it's place in history; uses; growth and harvesting; political and law enforcement developments; medicinal uses; religious uses; use as an artistic enhancement and much more. The book takes a reasoned approach that will educate all but the most closed minds.

    Did you know-In Marco Polo's writings, a group of guards of an Arab leaders stronghold after being given the task of killing a hated rival were stirred into a murderous rage by the use of hashish. They became the 'Hashsahshins' later to be known as assassins?

    Cannabis is the most widely used drug on earth, it's non addictive, easy to grow and harvest, has myriad other uses (hemp,etc.) and never been proven to promote aggressive or criminal behaviors. So why is it regulated against, the target of such a campaign of misinformation and fear mongering? It's a pretty amazing tale!

    Did you know- Special rolling papers called Ez-Widers, were a salute to the movie Easy Rider? And one brand even included a thin metal strip in the paper so when the joint was smoked down to the end you had a built in handle?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

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