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Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs [Hardcover]

Richard J. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 25.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Jan 2014 0199957975 978-0199957972 1
"Morphine," writes Richard J. Miller, "is the most significant chemical substance mankind has ever encountered." So ancient that remains of poppies have been found in Neolithic tombs, it is the most effective drug ever discovered for treating pain. "Whatever advances are made in medicine," Miller adds, "nothing could really be more important than that." And yet, when it comes to mind-altering substances, morphine is only a cc or two in a vast river that flows through human civilization, ranging LSD to a morning cup of tea.

In DRUGGED, Miller takes readers on an eye-opening tour of psychotropic drugs, describing the various kinds, how they were discovered and developed, and how they have played multiple roles in virtually every culture. The vast scope of chemicals that cross the blood-brain barrier boggle the very brain they reach: cannabis and cocaine, antipsychotics and antidepressants, alcohol, amphetamines, and Ecstasy-and much more. Literate and wide-ranging, Miller weaves together science and history, telling the story of the undercover theft of 20,000 tea plants from China by a British spy, for example, the European discovery of coffee and chocolate, and how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous man of letters, first isolated the alkaloid we now know as caffeine. Miller explains what scientists know-and don't-about the impact of each drug on the brain, down to the details of neurotransmitters and their receptors. He clarifies the differences between morphine and heroin, mescaline and LSD, and other similar substances. Drugged brims with surprises, revealing the fact that antidepressant drugs evolved from the rocket fuel that shot V2 rockets into London during World War II, highlighting the role of hallucinogens in the history of religion, and asking whether Prozac can help depressed cats.

Entertaining and authoritative, Drugged is a truly fascinating book.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; 1 edition (30 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199957975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199957972
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Miller's explanations of these investigations make for excellent intellectual detective stories. (New Statesman)

Miller displays an impressive knowledge of both neurochemistry and Western cultural history. (Focus)

It's hard to imagine a more satisfying history than (The Daily Beast)

... Miller's enthusiasm gives the text a quirky, eccentric charm ... Indeed, the connections Miller makes between the arts and the science of our brains on drugs are some of the most delightful bits in

Miller cover[s] everything from tea and coffee to LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) ... He also makes lengthy and lively excursions into culture. (Nature)

About the Author

brims with surprises, revealing the fact that antidepressant drugs evolved from the rocket fuel that shot V2 rockets into London during World War II, highlighting the role of hallucinogens in the history of religion, and asking whether Prozac can help depressed cats. (Gaia)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking at drugs 5 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good book about psychoactive drugs.History and analysis of the main ones.Entertaining and informative.Quite detailed at times which I found useful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History, Culture, and Science Rolled Up and Ready to Smoke 19 Jan 2014
By P. Todd Decker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Just finished Richard J. Miller's "Drugged" which is a tour de force of the history, culture, and science of psychotropic drugs (i.e. drugs which influence the brain). Miller's tour can become a bit technical in places, but the non-technical reader should bear through these points for the bulk of the book is filled with interesting knowledge. For the technically inclined, the book provides an excellent chemical and biological overview. "Drugged" explores all classes if psychotropics with, for the most part, each chapter covering each class. Miller usually starts out with historical context then moves into the technicals and weaves cultural implications throughout. The last chapter covers the relationship between the brain and immune systems wrapped in an exploration of the life and death of composer Robert Schumann. Coffee, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and chocolate are reviewed in addition to the usuals of LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, and morphine. All in all, it made for an excellent read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful history of psychotropic drug discovery and utilization 9 Feb 2014
By phuturepharmd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a 3rd year pharmacy student, I am always enthralled by the pharmacology/toxicology of drugs. I am also a rabid reader of history books, so when a book comes out that combines the two, I am ecstatic! This book has been a wonderful read thus far ( I am only about 1/4 of the way through it due to having a therapeutics exam coming up and not a lot of "free time" to read leisurely). The book is well-written and definitely easily approachable by the common layperson and is also a good refresher for us biology/chemistry geeks. I look forward to finishing it soon and will definitely update my review at that time. With that said, so far so very good!
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book on psychoactive drugs - must read 8 Dec 2013
By Surfson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book!!!! Written in a very engaging and interesting way, yet full of valuable information, analysis and perspective. The author makes the topic exciting and relevant.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who needs Drugged? I do! 2 Dec 2013
By wesvillager - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent and much needed book. Highly recommended, particularly those with a science background who are interested in the nature of psychotropics.
1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BORRRRING. 7 April 2014
By Eric Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is more boring than a textbook. You'll be bored to tears. I had to skim all the way thru as it was way too BORING. Don't see how anyone could find this book even remotely entertaining. I guess reading about the science of drugs is Boring.Clueless #$@! author didn't have entertainment in mind.
Fortuanately I loaned it from library; I didn't buy it.
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