Friday, June 11, 2010

"Cocaine Nation" by Tom Feiling

The American edition of "The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World" by Tom Feiling published in the U.K. by Penguin (2009) is coming out in the U.S. as "Cocaine Nation" published by Pegasus Books. Here's the review by the Guardian.

This book is a terrific overview of the drug prohibition phenomenon, focusing on cocaine. The history is rich and detailed, and almost encyclopedic.

Consider the crisis of violence and corruption raging across Jamaica right now. The government there is accused of killing scores of people in its attempt to capture Christopher "Dudus" Coke, the leader of the Shower Posse. Yet Tom Feiling writes about Coke's father, Lester "Jim Brown" Coke and the history of the Shower Posse and Jamaican politics as the cocaine traffic and its money became established in Jamaica. He reports on how U.S.-supplied weapons that helped tip the bloody Jamaican election in 1980 toward the U.S.-favored Edward Seaga became the armaments of the cocaine and crack dealing posses.

The crisis of violence and corruption in Mexico gets similar analysis.

The chapter on "Legalization" is thoughtful, and identifies numerous unlikely supporters, and examines the arguments of thoughtful opponents such Mark Kleiman.

This is a very up-to-date comprehensive examination of the current cocaine phenomenon.

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