Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jan 20, 2015 - Social Science - 389 pages
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New York Times Bestseller

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, thirty-thousand-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

In Chasing the Scream, Hari reveals his discoveries entirely through the stories of people across the world whose lives have been transformed by this war. They range from a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn searching for her mother, to a teenage hit-man in Mexico searching for a way out. It begins with Hari's discovery that at the birth of the drug war, Billie Holiday was stalked and killed by the man who launched this crusade--and it ends with the story of a brave doctor who has led his country to decriminalize every drug, from cannabis to crack, with remarkable results.

Chasing the Scream lays bare what we really have been chasing in our century of drug war--in our hunger for drugs, and in our attempt to destroy them. This book will challenge and change how you think about one of the most controversial--and consequential--questions of our time.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oataker - LibraryThing

An account of the war on drugs, its casualties and its solution. Anecdotal style is gripping but takes a lot of pages, it could be laid out as an essay with headings. Its not obvious from the chapter ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - burritapal - LibraryThing

Do you judge people who you know are using drugs? Do you think drugs are evil? Do you think the war on drugs works? Did you know that Senator Joe McCarthy, the red-baiter, was a heroin addict, and ... Read full review


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The Spirit of 74
The Man in the Well
High Noon
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About the author (2015)

Johann Hari was a columnist for the Independent in London for nine years and was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International UK. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, Slate, the New Republic, and the Nation, among others. He has also been awarded the Comment Award for Cultural Commentator of the Year by Editorial Intelligence, and has been named Journalist of the Year by Stonewall. Hari lives in London.

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