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Publisher's Summary

The incredible and complex history of opium throughout the world.
Opium has played a dramatic and varied role in human history, inspiring religious veneration, scientific exploration, the bitterest rancor, and the most fanciful ecstasy. Now, authors Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer have provided a complete, insightful history of opium. Flowers in the Blood lifts the veil of mystery that has surrounded opium down through the ages.
Inside, discover:

Why a three-thousand-year-old statue of a Greek goddess was crowned with poppies
The formulas for Hippocrates’s ancient opium remedies
Why the Islamic councils of the wise vilified hashish but venerated opium
Why there was no opium problem in nineteenth-century England and America despite unprecedented and unrestricted consumption of opiates
What really provoked the Opium Wars in China
Why John Jacob Astor quit the opium trade
The unique role played by Chinese opium in the birth of the American labor movement
Along the way, the authors provide details of the addictions of S. T. Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, and other literary opium-eaters of the nineteenth century, as well as chronicling the progress of antidrug laws and the ongoing search for an addiction cure.
Originally published in 1981, this edition of Flowers in the Blood has been updated with a new preface by Goldberg. At times disconcerting, raising serious questions about attitudes and approaches toward powerful drugs and their control, Flowers in the Blood is an essential addition to the literature of opium, and a wide-awake look at the stuff that dreams (and nightmares) are made of.
©2014 Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer. Introduction by William Burroughs (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By CHET YARBROUGH on 06-18-14


Published in 1981, “Flowers in the Blood” argues for decriminalization of opiates. The idea remains controversial in 2014. Written by Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer, a listener feels misdirected by historical information.

Goldberg and Latimer explain that punishing the addicted with prison is a mistake. Those who succumb to addiction need help; not punishment. One can readily accept that argument but opiate regulation by the government is a step too far. This may be a distinction without a difference but Alcohol and cigarettes are still a private sector choice with government intervention (principally tax increases and education) based on political input.

The loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman in February 2014 comes to mind. Hoffman dies at the age of 46, John Belushi at 33, Kurt Cobain at 27, Billie Holiday at 44, River Phoenix at 23; all from opiate overdoses. If opiates were legalized, would these artists have been saved—who knows? They chose addiction to escape the insecurity and stress of life. Their choice is their choice. Insecurity and stress are facts in every human’s life. America’s failure is related to treatment; not government control of human choice.

“Flowers in the Blood” fails to nuance legalization of opiates. It leans more toward influencing uneducated poor, educated middle class, and idle rich to experiment with addictive drugs.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Susan on 02-11-16

Some Things Never Change

This book might also be entitled 'History of the War on Drugs'. It's about legal and illegal drug trade, medically sanctioned drug use and recreational drug use.
Though the author details the politic and commercial circumstances that led to the opium wars in China in the 1800s he doesn't stop there. The book follows the opium trade through the 1960s, especially relevant in light of the current epidemic of new heroin addicts.
As successful traders have learned to repackage opium into more potent and more marketable morphine and heroin, science remains stymied in its attempt to understand and cure addiction.
The author takes us to opium dens in China, to respectable Victorian homes replete with Laudemun, to the fringes of modern urban America where addicts shiver under bridges.
He makes his point, addiction has remained constant and intractable, an old story with no end in sight.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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