White Mischief

White Mischief

A Cultural History of Cocaine

Book - 2001
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This title examines the cultural history of cocaine, from its first use in South America thousands of years ago through its fall from grace in the 1900s to its re-emergence in the 1970s and '80s as the drug of choice for millions of people.

Blackwell North Amer
Cocaine has a unique place in the history of illegal recreational drugs. Remaining near the top of the list of drugs governments have vowed to eliminate, cocaine has kept its street credibility and underground status as the champagne drug, associated in many people's minds with a high-living, high-rolling lifestyle. Production of cocaine from coca leaves is increasing. Prices are steady. The mass media treat its recreational use by the rich and famous as more of a naughty prank than a potentially deadly vice. The coca plant is still legally chewed by millions of South Americans, producing a mild high akin to that of caffeine. More famously, coca extract remains a core ingredient of Coca-Cola, albeit with the cocaine content now removed.
To understand the cultural history of cocaine we have to make a journey back many thousands of years, to its first recorded use in South America. In more recent history, it was revered as the 'food of the gods' by the Incas; and within a quarter-century of its discovery 150 years ago, cocaine's career began in earnest. In the 1880s an astonishing array of medics in Europe - notably Sigmund Freud - and the USA pushed it as the wonder drug of the age. Its fall from grace was just as sudden. Moral panic in the early twentieth-century United States led governments across the world to follow its example and ban cocaine. Today, the USA is locked into a major covert armed struggle, attempting to stop cocaine exports from Columbia spiralling ever higher.
Cocaine re-emerged in the 1970s and '80s as a recreational drug of choice for millions of people in America, Britain and Europe. The use of cocaine is now becoming commonplace. But it remains a drug about which opinion - among both users and non-users - is ambivalent. This comprehensive book examines and re-evaluates the long history of both the coca plant and cocaine. And it poses the question: do our current attitudes and official policies need a fundamental and startling rethink?

Publisher: Edinburgh : Mainstream, 2001
Description: 204 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781840184051
Branch Call Number: 362.298 Mad


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