The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
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The Candy Machine is highly addictive (Metro)
It is hard to decide if Tom Feiling's future lies as a QC or the new Paul Theroux. He has written a vivid, argumentative, arresting book (The Sunday Telegraph)
I've read a few documentary accounts of the rise of cocaine, and this might be the best of them. It's clear, sharp and solid. Very well told (Evening Standard)
An important study of the cultivation, usage and suppression of cocaine (FT)
A cracking read . . . Strong stuff, beautifully argued (Literary Review)
“It’s hard to decide if Tom Feilings future lies as a QC or the new Paul Theroux.” (The Sunday Telegraph)
"I’ve read a few documentary accounts of the rise of cocaine and this might be the best of them. It’s clear sharp and solid. Very well told." (The Evening Standard)
“A vivid, argumentative, arresting book based on extensive interviews with people involved in the cocaine routes which run from Colombia to American and British cities.” (The Telegraph) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
By the way, the footnotes in the Kindle edition are largely unreadable as the last few words from each line are truncated.
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.Read more ›
Definitely worth a read if you are interested in how not just cocaine, but how drugs have taken over the world.
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.
I only have to disagree on one point. Towards the end of his excellent book, Feilding calls for cocaine to be made legal because its so popular. Everyone's doing it so what's the harm? This is the 'the damn will eventually burst anyway' argument.
This reasoning seems like common sense. But what if I said burglary should be legal because every body does it anyway?
Anyway, this is still the definite book of cocaine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After watching some documentaries about the drug cartels in Latin America we wanted to know more. This book gives us another view. We like it.Published 3 months ago by khpm
Maybe a tad lengthy in places but this is a really eye opening read and also raises some really interesting and thought provoking questions about the doomed and insanely exorbitant... Read morePublished 17 months ago by keen reader
Comprehensively sums up the history of cocaine use but kind of becomes a campaign for regulation of world drug taking.Published 19 months ago by roger
The level of detail in this book is incredible. Prodigious work.Published 20 months ago by Saman Tahmassebi
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.Published on 2 Jan. 2013 by Gabriela Rowbotham