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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read
I was expecting a much more glamorous tale at a much faster pace (never judge a book by its cover), however was surprised to read a fascinating and well researched account of how cocaine impacts countries globally in a multitude of ways. His country specific chapters are fascinating narco-histories of those countries.

It is possible to get bogged down as he...
Published on 3 Sep 2010 by Sean Slippers

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor by any account
It seems this book didn't have an editor. It is an absolute mish mash of facts , as if the writter just cut and paste together everything he could find on wikipedia. No structure and nothing new added, just a wonder through well known cliches. An bit of in depth investigative journalism would of been nice. This book could conceivably be interesting to those who know...
Published 20 months ago by BookWorm


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 3 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
I was expecting a much more glamorous tale at a much faster pace (never judge a book by its cover), however was surprised to read a fascinating and well researched account of how cocaine impacts countries globally in a multitude of ways. His country specific chapters are fascinating narco-histories of those countries.

It is possible to get bogged down as he makes his academic arguments to an audience beyond the lay-reader, but it is worth sticking with as no matter what your view on the topic there is a wealth of well presented information about this world that shows no signs of vanishing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb analysis of an illicit trade, 13 Aug 2009
By 
MJ (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
This is an important story extremely well told. Feiling shows clearly how, since the 1970s, the cocaine trade has insinuated itself into societies like Colombia, Jamaica and Mexico, offering vast financial rewards to marginal groups excluded from the global economy ('drug cartels'), looking to fund insurgent movements ('terrorists') or attempting to securitise their export monopolies ('drug enforcement'). His analysis demonstrates that the illicit trade serves the interests of dysfunctional nation states as much as it does the drugs business - and, consequently, how the two have so frequently merged. It explains why the War on Drugs, despite its huge destructiveness to civil society, has been locked in stasis for so long - and why legalisation, the only feasible solution, is so fiercely resisted by governments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked The Wire, you'll like this, 7 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
If you like the TV show The Wire, you will enjoy this book. Although this 'non-fiction' let me point out right away that Feiling's writing is compelling, fluid and I had trouble to put the book down. The book explains how the drug/cocaine industry evolved, how it works, what damage it does to supplier and transit nations including Colombia, Mexico and Jamaica and how turning drugs into a moral question has produced a serious of laws that, if anything, waste enormous amounts of money without making any difference.

Perhaps often heard, Feiling shows that criminalising cocaine is not a solution to eradicate drug related crime but rather the root cause and that the disconnect between the war on drugs and the key drivers of the drug economy has never been wider: Like in The Wire, for every dead or imprisoned drug dealer, there are ten others who are ready to fill that place, simply because criminalising drugs made them lucrative. (Demand, he argues will not go away, it hasn't in the past). This in turn drives crime especially over supplier networks and territory.

Feiling describes how time and again, cocaine was hijacked to serve different political agendas both in the US and the UK. For example, Nixon's brilliant concept of a 'war against drugs' was nothing more than the politics of fear. He successfully enlisted the electorate against what he perceived to be a threat to WASP values by a 'nascent youth culture' and equated drugs with culture war. 'Ike [Eisenhower] he wrote it's just amazing how much you can get done through fear. All I talk about in New Hampshire is crime and drugs and everyone wants to vote for me- and they don't even have any black people up there'(Feiling 2009:34).

In the end the war on drugs consumes billions of dollars annually with little effect. Abroad, meanwhile the US has assumed a dominant role in the international fight against drugs for which it has pushed supplier countries to sign up to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The Convention,now archaic, binds the hands of governments to pursue alternative ways in reducing the very drug production that is driven by US and European demand.

If this sounds a bit dry, don't worry, the book reads at times like a thriller. Feiling draws on a vast volume of sources: reports, studies and interviews on the ground both in the US and South America. Having lived in Colombia obviously helped in gaining access to good sources. Although he sometimes loses the red-thread, overall the chapters build up to a coherent argument: we need to change our policy approach to drugs if we want to eradicate crime and misery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. It is a great insight into the drug world. Especially in America.

Definitely worth a read if you are interested in how not just cocaine, but how drugs have taken over the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
This book is brilliant, really eye opening. It's set out so it starts with a history of how our relationship with cocaine developed and then goes on to talk about where we are now and the looks to the future. Brilliant account of our current failing drug policy and used lots of real life examples and case studies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent informative read, 2 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
Very informative, delving into the heart of the matter spanning the whole world. Tom Feiling has a gift for portraying a delicate and serious topic in an understandable way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight, 3 April 2010
By 
M. Samaroo (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
I appreciated that the author went into detail about this history of cocaine before he took us onto the path of all parties involved in it. From the authorities to the addict, to the causal user. Good insight.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillliant, 11 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
Really enjoyed this book. very informative, exciting and challenging. Feiling's case for the legalisation of drugs should not be missed.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent page turner., 1 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
Great insightful book that demonstrates thorough research without over theorising the facts. The result is great documentary book behind the face of a thrilling read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy and timely, 29 July 2011
By 
Mr. Joel C. A. Cooney "Joel_C" (Glasgow, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World (Paperback)
Fascinating tale of the narcotics trade and rise to prominence of Cocaine, from it's late-19th/early 20th Century 'health tonic' legal heyday, through prohibition, it's rising status as a luxury indulgence in the 70s, through to being the de-facto global consumer commodity it is today. Whilst there's a slight weakness in tone ( the author's voice comes across like that of a BBC Three presenter; presumably this is aimed at a younger market) and it puts forth some questionable positions (implying that people who don't 'experiment' with illegal drugs are somehow socially maladjusted), this is a comprehensive, balanced and above all rational treatise of what is an often murky subject, replete with battle-hardened argument positions on both sides.

It also serves well as a history of the trade on blighted countries such as Colombia, Jamaica and Mexico (and the often disastrous consequences of US involvement in them). The fact that the conclusions - that the so-called 'war' on drugs is a catastrophic failure, enforcing prohibition is counter-productive and that treating the problem as a social health issue rather than a criminal justice one would be a helpful first start - are so obvious from the start perhaps indicates the intractability of this problem and our society's inability to engage with it. Worth reading, even if your personal drug usage extends only to a strong cup of tea...
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The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World
The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling (Paperback - 6 Aug 2009)
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