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[With] entertaining details...[Courtwright's] lively writing spices up a serious take on a grave subject. While Courtwright sees licit substances like tea and illegal heavy-hitters like cocaine as two ends of the same spectrum, he's by no means trying to minimize the dangers of drugs. Rather, he wants to lay out the history clearly—perhaps partly hoping that if policy setters understand how drug use spread so widely and deeply, they'll be better equipped to fight it.
— Polly Shulman