Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs

Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs

by Jill Jonnes
     
 

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"Fascinating, well researched and finely honed... This is a must read." -- Judge Peggy F. Hora, California BenchOnce upon a time in America, morphine and cocaine were routinely sold in pharmacies, and "hop heads" gathered in shadowy basements to smoke opium. So begins Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams, Jill Jonnes's ground-breaking history of illegal drugs in

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Overview

"Fascinating, well researched and finely honed... This is a must read." -- Judge Peggy F. Hora, California BenchOnce upon a time in America, morphine and cocaine were routinely sold in pharmacies, and "hop heads" gathered in shadowy basements to smoke opium. So begins Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams, Jill Jonnes's ground-breaking history of illegal drugs in America. Jonnes vividly traces our first turn-of-the-century drug epidemic, successfully quelled, and then follows the story into the postwar era: starting in the jazz world of the northern cities and moving through the "flower power" 1960s to the cocaine and crack explosion of the 1980s and 1990s.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the turn of the century, Jonnes estimates, one American in 200 was a drug addictand most of these were genteel middle-class women taking cocaine or nostrums laced with opiates. This sweeping, highly colorful, riveting narrative resurrects a largely forgotten history of drug use and abuse in the U.S. Jonnes, who researched this topic extensively while completing her Ph.D. in American history from Johns Hopkins, strongly opposes today's illegal drug culture, arguing that marijuana, hallucinogens, cocaine and heroin are far more dangerous than alcohol and engender crime, violence, personal tragedy and a culture of irresponsibility and instant gratification. Beginning with Chinese opium dens, patent medicines and early, ostensibly antidrug Hollywood movies portraying druggies as glamorous hedonistic rebels, she moves on to jazz-age Harlem, 1950s Beat hipsters and then to the 1960s counterculture, whose gurus, like Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg, helped spread drug use to the broad middle class. Her entertaining chronicle includes side trips to 1930s Paris, the N.Y.C. mob underworld, Marseille's Corsican, CIA-abetted drug network of the 1950s and '60s and today's Colombian cocaine cartels. It culminates with a compelling argument against legalization or decriminalization, charging that privileged baby boomers forget the financial and educational advantages that allowed them to emerge from 1960s drug use relatively unscathed. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The result of research conducted while Jonnes was completing her doctorate at Johns Hopkins, this readable, fascinating work covers the ups and downs of drug use and abuse primarily in the United States from the late 19th century to the 20th-century's drug/AIDS connection. Moving from opium through morphine, heroin, psychedelics, and cocaine, the author features the diverse personalities of entertainers, gangsters, politicians, narcotics agents, hepsters, criminals, beatniks, and many others involved in various aspects of drug use, trade, and control. She examines policies of the Federal Narcotics Bureau with its self-promoting commissioner, the State Department's obsessed Cold War focus, the Colombian cartel, the French connection, Charlie Parker, Lucky Luciano, Timothy Leary, Carlos Lehder, and more. Well paced and informative, this book will interest general readers, academics, and politicians. Highly recommended.Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Booknews
Exceptionally well-researched, this is the first comprehensive history of illegal drug use in America. Jonnes, a journalist and historian who recently curated a new museum for the Drug Enforcement Agency, wisely focuses on a succession of individuals to continually return to a human level what otherwise could have been an abstract sociological overview. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Francine Prose
Tracks the colorful careers of movie stars and street junkies, drug traffivkers and federal agents, to document journalist Jill Jonnes's chillingly plausible these: that drug abuse is as much a part of our national heritage as Mom, the flag and apple pie.
Elle

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801861659
Publisher:
Hopkins Fulfillment Services
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
510
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.12(d)

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