Martin Booth was an internationally known, Booker-prize shortlisted writer. His Opium: A History is regarded as the definitive book on the subject. He lived in Devon, England, at the time of his death in February 2004.
Booth, author of a sweeping history of opium, now offers a global history of cannabis, especially its production and uses as hashish and marijuana. In doing so, he tracks the plant's biological, pharmaceutical, medicinal, religious, cultural, literary, social, and regulatory history from ancient China and India, through the Middle East and Africa, into Europe and the Americas, and finally to middle-class American suburbs, Amsterdam coffee shops, and recording studios everywhere today. Cannabis has proved a versatile and variable plant, spreading on the trade winds and through commerce, conquest, and countercultures. Booth does much to debunk the many myths surrounding cannabis and the onus as a supposed stimulant for violent, antisocial, Communist, and other disruptive behavior with which antidrug forces sought to link it, instead pointing out its often beneficial effects in art, literature, music, and pain relief and its benign effect on human relations. Booth tips his hand for the decriminalization of marijuana but otherwise gives a remarkably "cool" account of a plant that people round the world, to paraphrase the Beatles, had to get into their lives. Get this book instead.ARandall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Amazingly informative and riveting...quite intoxicating." --Financial Times (UK)"Fascinating...a clear-headed and sustained case." --The Sunday Times (UK)"Even-handed, adult and good-humoured...original and thought-provoking." --Sunday Telegraph (UK)"Well-researched." --The Seattle Times