Forces of Habit by David T. Courtwright
Drugs and the Making of the Modern World

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Synopsis

What drives the drug trade, and how has it come to be what it is today? A global history of the acquisition of progressively more potent means of altering ordinary waking consciousness, this book is the first to provide the big picture of the discovery, interchange, and exploitation of the planet's psychoactive resources, from tea and kola to opiates and amphetamines.
 

About David T. Courtwright

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David T. Courtwright is John A. Delaney Presidential Professor at the University of North Florida.
 
Published June 30, 2009 by Harvard University Press. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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Of the mid-17th century, when coffee, distilled spirits, and tobacco became widely available, the author wryly observes that those who had lived through decades of plague, economic hardship, war, riots, and famine “were people who could use a smoke and a drink.” And drugs have figured prominently...

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Project MUSE

Noting that by 1885 close to half of the British government's gross revenue came from drug taxes, Courtwright observes that governments "have a way of becoming dependent on drug taxes" (p.

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Project MUSE

Courtwright, has searched an intimidating range and amount of material to produce a major world history of habituating substances.

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Project MUSE

In whatever might be called "drug" history, much of what passes for "comparative" or "global" is merely the parallel and poorly integrated work of scholars divided by drug and country -- tea in Britain, opium in China, amphetamines in Sweden.

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Project MUSE

Like McNeill's similarly brief book, Courtwright does not attempt a sweeping summary but instead identifies the major economic and political forces—the forces of habit in his title—that drive the experience of drugs in Western societies (and in a few exemplary non-Western ones).

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