Cannabis: A History Hardcover – Jun 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Quick?what do Napoleons troops, Asian cooking, Armani jeans, the Gutenberg Bible and the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company have in common? According to British novelist Booth (Opium; Hiroshima Joe; etc.), all of these have used some part of the versatile cannabis plant. In this densely packed, wide-ranging history, Booth draws on religion, history, ecology, horticulture, linguistics, pop culture and medical research to correct the falsehoods surrounding the oft-banned plant and to painstakingly build his case that the war on cannabis has little to do with concerns for public health or order. Along the way, Booth introduces a dizzying parade of historical persons that includes visionaries, scientists, beatniks, farmers, artists, soldiers and smugglers. Unlike many of the other more partisan books on cannabis, the overall tone of Booths volume is objective, unemotional and factual-a stance that makes for fine impartial argument, but also occasionally dull reading. At its best, however, the books attention to detail lures the reader ever more deeply into cannabis history. Descriptions of hip, mid-century New York, London and Amsterdam, for example, help illuminate the role of cannabis in more recent cultural movements. And a quick survey of the myths about the drugs psychological effects shows how laws banning cannabis were often used as an excuse to suppress blacks and migrant Mexican workers. Booth also discusses provocative legal, political and economic actions (for and against cannabis) that have affected millions of people. In his profile of a plant that can be an intoxicant, fiber, cooking ingredient, medicine and potential source of environmentally friendly products, he gives readers a fascinating sourcebook about "the most widely produced, trafficked and used illicit drug on earth." Photos.
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Booth chronicles that "adaptive and highly successful annual found . . . throughout the temperate and tropical zones," cannabis, with the panache he exhibited in Opium (1998). Though the noble plant's precise origins are hazy, the name cannabis probably evolved from antecedents meaning fragrant cane. Whatever it has been called, it has been beloved and reviled by personages ranging from twelfth-century Sufi monks, who chewed it for its mood-altering properties, to anti-pot Depression-era federal agent Harry Anslinger and today's drug warriors. Favored by poets (Coleridge sought to wean himself from opium with it), musicians and actors (Gene Krupa and Robert Mitchum, both busted in Anslinger's "star-bust campaign"), and worse (black-magician Aleister Crowley, who put it in his recreational-substance armamentarium). Besides famous users, Booth discusses home-growing ganja and present-day international trafficking in it, though from a British perspective. His pithy coverage of Rastafarians is a particular treat. While no brief for legalization, Cannabis objectively raises points and issues threatening to zero-tolerance environments; more open collections, however, should welcome it. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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ONCE UPON A TIME, ACCORDING TO A STORY RECOUNTED BY the Islamic chronicler al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) in AD 1155, the founder of the Persian Sufi Hyderi sect, Haydar, left his cell in a monastery in the mountains near Neyshaur, in the Khorasan region of north-eastern Iran, and went out for a walk. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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The author covers the historical development of a very controversial plant delicately.... Cannabis is traced back to ancient times where its usage was (and still is in some parts of the world)more medicinal and related to religious rites as opposed to recreational... The books also delves into the components of the plant itself,optimal growing conditions,growing locations... the active ingredient that gives consumers the BANG!!!
come to the middle of the book we are enlighten with how the move against cannabis was first born.... and later explain the stand of governments on cannabis....
the book covers cannabis from a historical and cultural point of view!!! I enjoyed it!!! a superb history!!!!
Update: I had a couple of negative and frankly quite hostile comments about this review which I strongly suspect come from people with a vested interest, one accused me of being full of hot air etc and saying that I should recommend better books. Well firstly don't just take my word for it - please buy this book, but it is really not any good, you can always get a refund. Secondly, the books that I personally consider far better are:
The Emperor Wears No Clothes - Written by Jack Herer.
Shivas Broken Dream: Cannabis the tale of a sacred plant - Written by Mel Thomas.
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis - Written by Julie Holland M.D.