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Cocaine: A Definitive History Paperback – 7 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; New Ed edition (7 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753506270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753506271
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.4 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The best volume on charlie for years...addictive" (Observer)

"The most comprehensive and intelligent history of cocaine available today" (The Times)

"Stick your hooter into this volume and you won't be able to stop until you've sniffed out all of its contents" (Time Out)

Book Description

From the coca to Coke to cocaine - the definitive history of the world's most popular, most problematic drug

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pirlo on 30 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading 'Cocaine', I had the sense of an author developing as a writer as the book went on: I found the first few pages too full of slang, and almost put the book down. However, as the account went from Condamine's journey in Ecuador to Freud's discovery of cocaine in Vienna, to the origins of Coca Cola, I realised that this author's researches were comprehensive and found myself marking more and more interesting passages, e.g. the behaviour of rats who are given cocaine (they take it until they die) compared to rats who are given heroin (they adjust).
As the focus of the book turns to post-war America and to Columbia, I was gripped. The account of the failings of the War on Drugs and on the human costs of the conflict between the Medellin/ Cali cartel and the Columbian state is first rate.
This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in history, contemporary politics and geopolitics. I commend Dominic Streatfeild as an author whose bravery in arranging interviews with Columbian drug lords is matched by his command of the material.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emma on 8 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
In Peru, my home country, coca is part of both, ancient and current Andean culture. It's common for us to wear t-shirts that say "Coca leaves are not cocaine" and this is perfectly expressed in Dominic's book. This "anauthorized biography" not only shows with high realism how difficult it is for South Americans to destroy a plant that has always been part of our lives, but it gives us a clear panorama of the whole problem, from every point of view. I recalled my history classes.
The book must be translated into Spanish! Thousands of Peruvians, Mexicans, Colombians and Bolivians (who do not read English) would enjoy the author's humor and accuracy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
'We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold'. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
Lying in a hammock in deepest Peru, Dominic Streatfeild's meticulous and illuminating account of the history of cocaine hydrochloride opens in much the same fashion as Thompson's savage journey to the heart of American darkness. His globe-spanning odyssey never fails to provoke favourable comparison with the gonzo journalist's ability to cut right to the heart of a culture rotten to its very core.
In this tradition of journalistic flair Streatfeild submerges himself in the world of cocaine with an ear for the truth and an eye for the outrageous. In doing so he produces a socio-political investigation that lucidly dissects a multi-billion dollar industry second only to oil in revenue generation.
Streatfeild treads the thin white line between eulogising and damning cocaine with great aplomb, resulting in a thorough and balanced appraisal of the effects that the drug has had on our society. With a wry sense of humour, healthy scepticism and no shortage of bravery he peels away the layers that shroud the cocaine industry. His soundly argued prose, interviews with all manner of scientists, traffickers, guerrillas and enforcement agents and colourful digressions upon such varied topics as Coca-Cola, Freud and Sherlock Holmes build a startling and comprehensive picture of a drug that pervades every facet of our society.
As he draws all the strands of the industry together, from the coca fields and corruption soaked governments of Central and South America to the streets and crackhouses of metropolitan America it is the spectre of Columbia that looms largest of all.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Not, must I hasten to add, from the use of Cocaine, but from the inability to put this book down at night. In only two days, and limited peroids of time between work and sleep, I have managed to get through a quarter of this, everso readable book.
The story so far has taken me through history lessons in the story of Coca and Cocaine, all the way through; North American Idians, Inca's, the Spanish, the French ..... deep breath..... aswell as a whole host of Dr's, chemists, specialists.... wait there's more.... Freud, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Authur Conan Doyle. Wow, and not even half way through yet.
I don't profess to read a great deal or have any talent for book reviews (or writing in general!). However, I feel that this is a good opportunity for people, like me, who rarely find, or make time to read, to make the effort here and learn some stuff.
As for the rest of you, those of you who consume books in the matter of time it takes me to eat my toast of a morning, what are you waiting for?
Whatever your stance on the subject of Cocaine, there is as a whole lot of information here, all, so far very interesting, extremely well written, and so easy to read.
I can't wait to get home and read more! Mr Streatfield, has, in my opinion a charming sense of humour and a style of writing which I am throughly enjoying.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book provides an exceptional and thought-provoking insight into the issue of Cocaine and its corrosive effects. It offers a very thorough and modern perspective on Cocaine identifying the social, political, economic and cultural effects of it's use around the globe.
The first part of the book traces the origins of Cocaine and it's initial uses in South America and the beginning of its use and popularity in Europe and the U.S. However where the book really takes off is in its analysis of the rise and (relative) explosion of Cociane use from the 60's onwards. Covering all sides of the story, from the drug-official combating cocaine to the drug lord supplying the market, this book provides a fair and objective analysis. Along the way it asks some uncomfortable questions about American foreign Policy, Racism and poverty, prohibition and the freedom of the individual, and the role of media hype and manipulation.
The only slight quibble might be with the style of the writing which veres from serious reportage to a conversational and pseudo Hunter S. Thompson style. However this book is well researched(using both primary and secondary sources) , non-judgemental and covers every concievable angle around an elusive and dangerous topic.
Highly recommended for anyone with a slight interest in one of the most controversial and contemporary issues of debate in modern Western society.
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