New from Simon & Schuster

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
You Can't Make This Stuff Up by Theresa Caputo
High Society

High Society

The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science, and Culture

An illustrated cultural history of drug use from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals

• Featuring artwork from the upcoming High Society exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, one of the world’s greatest medical history collections

• Explores the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods

• Reveals how drugs drove the global trade and cultural exchange that made the modern world

• Examines the causes of drug prohibitions a century ago and the current “war on drugs”

Every society is a high society. Every day people drink coffee on European terraces and kava in Pacific villages; chew betel nut in Indonesian markets and coca leaf on Andean mountainsides; swallow ecstasy tablets in the clubs of Amsterdam and opium pills in the deserts of Rajastan; smoke hashish in Himalayan temples and tobacco and marijuana in every nation on earth.

Exploring the spectrum of drug use throughout history--from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals--High Society paints vivid portraits of the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods. From the botanicals of the classical world through the mind-bending self-experiments of 18th- and 19th-century scientists to the synthetic molecules that have transformed our understanding of the brain, Mike Jay reveals how drugs such as tobacco, tea, and opium drove the global trade and cultural exchange that created the modern world and examines the forces that led to the prohibition of opium and cocaine a century ago and the “war on drugs” that rages today.
Choose a format:
  • Park Street Press | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781594773938 | 
  • October 2010
Add to Cart
List Price $19.95
Usually ships within 1 business day

Read an Excerpt

A Universal Impulse

Drugs can bestow remarkable powers, but only to those who are primed to receive them. The hallucinatory derangement of virola snuff will overwhelm anyone who ingests enough of it, but for most it will be recalled (if at all) as a fever dream of fragmentary impressions, dominated by sensations of burning sinuses and overwhelming nausea. It is an intensely personal ordeal, but can only be understood in a social context. Unlike animal intoxication, human drug use takes place within a web of verbal and symbolic culture, and it is here that its meanings reside.

In 1953 Howard S. Becker, a young sociologist... see more

About the Author

Mike Jay

Mike Jay is a leading specialist in the study of drugs across history and cultures. The author of Artificial Paradises, Emperors of Dreams, and The Atmosphere of Heaven, his critical writing on drugs has appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The International Journal of Drug Policy. He sits on the editorial board of the addiction journal Drugs and Alcohol Today and on the board of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. He lives in England.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!