- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Ships from: Westlake, OR
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Melding social, political, and cultural history, The Pursuit of Oblivion illustrates that intoxication is neither unnatural nor deviant, and it describes how for thousands of years human beings have taken substances to change their physical or emotional state. Davenport-Hines argues persuasively that drug use is a necessary part of human experience, recounting how many drugs that are controlled or prohibited nowadays were freely available until the early twentieth century.
Although intrepid seventeenth-century European explorers experimented with narcotics discovered in foreign lands, modern drug history was not firmly established until the nineteenth century. Innovative Victorian physicians, spurred on by the new availability of syringes and the discovery of new therapeutic substances, began to use morphine and other powerful medicines in the treatment of a wide range of diseases. Many patients became unwittingly dependent on the drugs that had been used to treat their physical or nervous ailments. Physicians, though, remained confident in the healing powers of new pharmaceuticals and many, including Sigmund Freud, enthusiastically endorsed the advent of cocaine.
In the twentieth century opiates, cocaine, and marijuana became increasingly associated with minorities, the lower classes, and deviant bohemians. Attitudes and policies were changed across the world by the U.S. anti-drug lobby's obsession with the total prohibition of recreational drugs. Fueled by class antagonisms, fear of crime, and naive idealism, the U.S. government took the global initiative in the drug wars, and behind the formidable Harry Anslinger launched a forceful -- but counterproductive -- prohibition policy to which the European powers gradually conformed. The last century has revealed that the War on Drugs, with its aim of unconditional surrender, is a war that cannot be won. Drug use can be dangerous and destructive, Davenport-Hines shows, but as long as it is sustained by an economic reward system made possible only by prohibition, it will remain gratifying to both suppliers and some users.
In its vivid depiction of the people and events that have shaped the history of narcotics, The Pursuit of Oblivion is a history of individual emotional extremes. Davenport-Hines tells the story of addicts and users across five centuries: monarchs, politicians, great writers and composers, exhausted laborers, pop stars, defiant schoolchildren, victims of the ghetto, and happy young people on a spree. Drawing on evidence from different continents and cultures, The Pursuit of Oblivion will force us to reconsider many of our views on a controversial subject of global importance.
|2||Opium during the Enlightenment||43|
|3||The Patent Age of New Inventions||61|
|4||Nerves, Needles and Victorian Doctors||99|
|7||The Dawn of Prohibition||195|
|10||The Age of Anxiety||299|
|11||The First Drugs Czar||344|
|12||British Drug Scenes||368|
|13||Presidential Drugs Wars||420|