I have to admit, I picked this up with a degree of trepidation.
There are so many books published which blame the British Empire for everything from famine, slavery, warfare and xenophobia, that I am forced to select my reading with care, just to avoid damage to my blood pressure. I need not have worried with this.
This is a superb, balanced book, which takes a number of examples of conspiracy, incompetence, and venality to show how the modern drug trade really kicked off. Was the Empire responsible? At the outset, you betcha. It was, after all, the Opium Wars which kicked off mass demand for drugs, and it was merchants and adventurers who profited from the misery of their Chinese victims. But that was then. This book is about the attempts by many Imperialists to stop the flow of drugs and save people from becoming addicts. And yes…
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