In the Shadow of the White House; Drugs, Death, and Redemption on the Streets of the Nation's Capital

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Mike Tidwell's story of counseling homeless drug addicts begins with the startling contrast of the pomp and circumstance of the President's inaugural ceremonies to the desperate poverty in the neighborhoods surrounding the White House. He alludes to the year ahead that would bring a form of martial law to the drug- and crime-weary city. Tidwell continues to describe the effect overzealous domestic drug policies had on the street level and recounts the cruelty of poverty, the desperation in the streets, and the ...
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Overview

Mike Tidwell's story of counseling homeless drug addicts begins with the startling contrast of the pomp and circumstance of the President's inaugural ceremonies to the desperate poverty in the neighborhoods surrounding the White House. He alludes to the year ahead that would bring a form of martial law to the drug- and crime-weary city. Tidwell continues to describe the effect overzealous domestic drug policies had on the street level and recounts the cruelty of poverty, the desperation in the streets, and the often heroic struggle against the painful and tragic addiction to crack cocaine. Yet from the smoldering ashes of the self-destructive local and national drug policies, Tidwell tells of a new recovery phenomenon that is emerging from within the crack community - a movement among addicts struggling to free themselves from the bondage of drugs.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Brilliant and terrifying evocation of the crack monster devouring Washington, D.C., coupled with addicts' biographies. Tidwell (The Ponds of Kalambayi, 1990)—white, suburban, 26 years old—went to work as a counselor in an inner-city halfway house for addicts on the same day that George Bush, promising a kinder, gentler America, was inaugurated. That year—1989—would see Washington with a higher homicide rate than that of Beirut; the imposition of martial law; drug czar William Bennett's masked, shotgun-toting shock troops; and 25 percent of the city's young black men in the prison system. Tidwell, a gifted storyteller, relates how, his first day on the job, he naively asked Jake—a recovering addict—what "rock" (crack) was; Jake's second lesson for Tidwell was hitting the deck when the nightly gunfire began outside. As Tidwell began to know these men—Vietnam vets, federal clerks, ex-cops, construction workers—who had been caught in crack's net and lost all, he wondered how they were able to stay clean against all reason: When they left the house, they would be offered crack by dealers before they had gone a block; without carfare, some walked 15 miles a day, day after day, vying for jobs that paid five dollars an hour; and virtually all had broken families. Their trust of Tidwell deepening, the men introduced him to Narcotics Anonymous, an underground, self-help fellowship modelled after AA, which silently has grown apace with the drug epidemic. Tidwell's description of Bennett's troops forcing dealers to retreat to new areas throughout the city—ironically insuring that at some time virtually every teenager would have a 24-hour drug marketon or near his block—juxtaposed with his passionate stories of addicts rebuilding their lives with NA meetings, makes unforgettable reading and an unequivocal damnation of politicians' get-tough promises. Unique and important in recent addiction literature: a very fine achievement.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559581080
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/5/1992
  • Pages: 341
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.16 (d)

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