Opium: A History

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Macmillan, Jun 12, 1999 - History - 381 pages
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Known to mankind since prehistoric times, opium is arguably the oldest and most widely used narcotic. Opium: A History traces the drug's astounding impact on world culture-from its religious use by prehistoric peoples to its influence on the imaginations of the Romantic writers; from the earliest medical science to the Sino-British opium wars. And, in the present day, as the addict population rises and penetrates every walk of life, Opium shows how the international multibillion-dollar heroin industry operates with terrifying efficiency and forms an integral part of the world's money markets.

In this first full-length history of opium, acclaimed author Martin Booth uncovers the multifaceted nature of this remarkable narcotic and the bittersweet effects of a simple poppy with a deadly legacy.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mjgrogan - LibraryThing

I found myself alternately crazy bored and truly engaged with Booth’s narrative. Essentially he tries to cover everything regarding this subject and does an admirable job – stuffing 4.54 kilograms of ... Read full review

OPIUM: A History

User Review  - Kirkus

This comprehensive opium chronicle is a worthy addition to the recent rush of compendia that seek to place commodities (e.g., oil, potatoes, corn) in their full historical/social context. Opium's ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Martin Booth (1944-2004) was the bestselling author of novels including Hiroshima Joe, Islands of Silence, and The Industry of Souls, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Another novel, A Very Private Gentlemen, was adapted into the 2010 movie, The American, starring George Clooney. He also wrote several nonfiction books, including Cannabis: A History and the memoir Golden Boy: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood. Booth was born in England, but spent much of his childhood in Hong Kong, a location that would deeply inspire his writing. He moved back to England at the age of 20, and started his literary career as a poet. He worked as a schoolmaster, a job he held until 1985, when the success of Hiroshima Joe allowed him to devote himself full-time to his writing. At the time of his death in 2004, he was living in Devon, England.

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