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simsilver@cix.co.uk (Cinderford UK)

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The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics 1500-2000
The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics 1500-2000
by Richard Davenport-Hines
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How fashions in drug use and control have changed since 1500, 19 Dec 2001
This is a scholarly work which describes changes in patterns of drug use since 1500. How different societies have thought about constitutes a drug and what role societies have in controlling these drugs is described for a range of different cultures.
The above sounds dry but there are many fascinating facts. Did you know that one of George V's physicians recommended heroin tablets for a dry cough? And that nobody thought it odd,wrong or dangerous.
The author does have his sympathies but he tries hard not to let them show in what is a fair account of the origins of today's drug problems.
The differing view points between Europe and the USA and how american attitudes appear to have gained the ascendency are particularly interesting and relevant.
I can recommend this book to all general readers. My only criticisms are that the paragraph spacing could have been shorter and there was no list of general reading accompanying the references.


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