"An important contribution to American social history. This book should be of interest to undergraduates and the general public."
"The first-hand accounts of exposure to various habit-forming drugs is a particularly valuable aspect of this book. . . . Warmly recommended to all those who are concerned with present-day drug addiction."
Yesterday's Addicts: American Society and Drug Abuse 1865-1920 examines the roots of drug abuse in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the end of World War I. Through contemporary articles and reports, this book focuses on public attitudes toward drug abuse, different forms of drug abuse, firsthand accounts by drug abusers, and reasons why the United States has attempted to control drug abuse. And it suggests that in the decades since World War I hardly anything has changed.
H. Wayne Morgan argues that public fear of drug abuse rests on several assumptions, all of which relate closely to American ideals and purposes. One assumption is that a drug abuser is in a sense a slave, devoid of free will, and is thus in a situation that runs counter to America's historic emphasis on individualism. Morgan also explores in detail the threat that drug abuse may pose to the efficient production of both goods and ideas by removing people from the mainstream of reality.
H. Wayne Morgan was a noted historian, author, and longtime University of Oklahoma Professor of History and administrator, wrote and edited many books and articles, including William McKinley and His America and New Muses: Art in American Culture, 1865-1920.