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I had a gut feeling that something was wrong about the drug history that had been taught, the rise of the 60's and permissiveness. This book takes you to other places and once you read it the whole facade begins to crumble. In essence the West fought surrogate wars against the Communists in the back of beyond by using drugs as a way of ensuring freedom fighters/paramilitaries were supplied with the latest weapons and training to defeat the insurgents. The guns were not supplied to them free, they had to pay for them and one currency which is more international than the dollar is heroin or cocaine

Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, the various South American conflicts, Central Asia, SE Asia have all involved the use of drugs to fund insurgency campaigns. This makes the western security forces complicit with the flooding of Western Europe with cheap cocaine and heroin, a fact most of the population likes to hide way from with its hanging and flogging campaign directed at dealers. At the moment the British taxpayer is paying the British Army to patrol the worlds opium basket in Helmand Province.

This book details the quandry's the West have been involved in to ensure freedom on one hand and the use of brutality on the other. After you have read it the world is never the same again.
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on 11 January 2011
This book is mind boggling, first released in the early 1970's it reported on the recent history of heroin cultivation and trafficking throughout the world for which the CIA tried to suppress its publication. This latest edition brings it up to date and includes sections on the failing war on drugs and recent trends in the market.

It is an astonishingly well researched and presented book, facts reel off the page that are sometimes incredulous for their brazenness. The only problem in my opinion is that there are too many facts presented so that one can lose the thread with the introduction of so many characters and goings on.

It is a very important book as it demystifies the Heroin trade and reports on how the market works (and one of the most profitable markets on the planet at that)

It covers the involvement of governments, military, police, CIA, mafia, taliban, warlords, syndicates and a whole myriad of agencies and organisations. It goes someway to explain the USA's turn around on drugs and the current failing war on drugs and also someway to explain how many countries operate around the world.

Fascinating stuff.
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on 19 January 2014
First class first person research, an all time classic on heroin trade..and who has organized and got profit from it. The new edition has added a wonderful short but complete history of the subject from the origins. You can't find a better and more complete book on this theme.
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on 28 January 2016
McCoy was a PhD from Yale, a scholar in Asian history teaching at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia was widely ignored by mainstream reviewers of the time because it linked drug lords to US military-intelligence men. Much of the information in the book came from interviews with eyewitnesses.

US support of anti-communists in Asia, who often financed their activities through poppy, opium and heroin growing and manufacturing, led to this situation. It really began in WWII, when mobsters like Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese were let out of jail to help the US invasion of Sicily, and then to keep the unions in southern France out of the hands of the Communists in the post-war years. The latter focused on the port city of Marseille, which soon became a center of heroin refining and exporting (the "French Connection). In the '50s, the Shah of Iran put a stop to the massive poppy industry in that country. Some of the remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's troops fled into the jungles of Burma after their defeat by the Communists; the US pressured Burma into allowing those troops to stay there, and the CIA began supplying them with Company airlines (Civil Air Transport and Sea Supply Corporation, which soon became Air America).

The KMT troops in Burma grew opium to finance themselves, while they used US arms and sometimes CIA planes to fly the opium out to Thailand or Taiwan. The drug center of the region was the town of Chiang Mai in northwest Thailand. The commander of the Thai police, Gen. Phao, was in on the racket and was the CIA's man in that country. In the '50s, heroin became a major problem in the US. The French also cooperated with the heroin trade in Indochina, and most of the leaders of South Vietnam (including Diem and Nhu) were involved as well. The Montagnard (or Hmong, also Meo) tribesmen in the hills were both fierce fighters and poppy farmers. Air America flew opium out of the Montagnard villages. DEA Far East regional director John J. O'Neill: "The kind of people they were dealing with up there, the whole economy was opium. The were dealing with the KMT and the KMT was involved in heroin. I have no doubt that Air America was used to transport opium." The Army's Criminal Investigation Division accidentally discovered a mammoth scheme where GI corpses were split open and stuffed with heroin before being flown to the US. Conspiring officers at the other end took the heroin out - up to 50 pounds of heroin per dead GI.
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on 1 August 2013
I would strongly recommend this title.
Rated. An in depth read for enquiring minds
I give it the highest accolade.
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on 17 December 2004
Stunning. Shocking. Superbly researched. Buy it. Now.
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