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From the Publisher
"Rasmussen deserves applause for providing a well-considered history and critique of amphetamine’s development and role in contemporary medicine."
"For historians of medicine, this book provides a new, empirically rich study of a major drug class and joins a growing body of recent work on pharmaceutical history; for historians more generally, it offers an excellent entrée to broader themes in twentieth century therapeutics; and for policy makers, industry insiders, and others, it is a lively yet insightfully critical text whose pages turn quickly even without benefit of the drug in question."
-American Historical Review
"It's hard to believe that amphetamine, a drug of questionable medical utility and extreme addiction hazard, was once considered among the 20th century's pharmaceutical triumphs, on a par with penicillin and insulin. How it attained and lost that status is the subject of this perceptive book."
-Washington Post Book World
"Rasmussen . . . examines amphetamine as a case study on the place drugs occupy in our culture and our fantasies (of miracle cures and elixirs). . . . At the book's core is an outstanding chapter, Bootleggers, Beatniks and Benzedrine Benders, describing how Benzedrine inhalers, available without a prescription, could be cracked open for a totally new kind of amphetamine experience, exerting a potent influence on music and literature, from Charlie Parker to Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg."
"Rasmussen blends science, medical history, and social history with fresh archival research. He fills the narrative with telling details and cultural insights. . . . This is a superb book."
-Journal of American History
"On Speed, a fascinating history of the use and abuse of amphetamines, is full of hair-raising detail. . . . Even more compelling than the historical perspective—which allows for visits to Harlem Jazz clubs, the haunts of Greenwich Village beatniks and Andy Warhol’s Factory—is Mr. Rasmussen’s withering survey of the current scene, with speed, in the form of Ritalin and Adderall, prescribed to millions of American children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and millions more using it recreationally. Add a dash of theorizing about the medicalization of social problems, and you have a book that is, well, addictive."
-Adam Begley (aka Begley the Bookie),The New York Observer