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Forces of Habit

Forces of Habit

Drugs and the Making of the Modern World

David T. Courtwright

ISBN 9780674010031

Publication date: 10/30/2002

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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.


  • This book offers a fascinating, entertaining, and perceptive account of how politics, profit, and pleasure have shaped contemporary attitudes about psychoactive substances… In Forces of Habit [Courtwright] reviews, with calm reason and humor, histories of the use and abuse of a complete spectrum of psychoactive substances including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, opiates, cannabis, cocaine, and hallucinogens… Courtwright presents a fresh and discerning discussion of contemporary issues and problems surrounding both illicit and legalized drugs.

    —Jack H. Mendelson, Science


  • David T. Courtwright is Presidential Professor Emeritus at the University of North Florida and the author of Dark Paradise: A History of Opiate Addiction in America and Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World (both from Harvard). He was an inaugural recipient of a grant from the highly competitive NEH Public Scholar Program and is a regular media commentator on the history of addiction.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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