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Books > History > Asia > China > 0226149056
  1. Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China
    Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China
    Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China
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  2. Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (3 reviews)
    Price R1238.00

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To this day, the perception persists that China was a civilization defeated by imperialist Britain's most desirable trade commodity, opium—a drug that turned the Chinese into cadaverous addicts in the iron grip of dependence. Britain, in an effort to reverse the damage caused by opium addiction, launched its own version of the "war on drugs," which lasted roughly sixty years, from 1880 to World War II and the beginning of Chinese communism. But, as Narcotic Culture brilliantly shows, the real scandal in Chinese history was not the expansion of the drug trade by Britain in the early nineteenth century, but rather the failure of the British to grasp the consequences of prohibition.

In a stunning historical reversal, Frank Dikötter, Lars Laamann, and Zhou Xun tell this different story of the relationship between opium and the Chinese. They reveal that opium actually had few harmful effects on either health or longevity; in fact, it was prepared and appreciated in highly complex rituals with inbuilt constraints preventing excessive use. Opium was even used as a medicinal panacea in China before the availability of aspirin and penicillin. But as a result of the British effort to eradicate opium, the Chinese turned from the relatively benign use of that drug to heroin, morphine, cocaine, and countless other psychoactive substances. Narcotic Culture provides abundant evidence that the transition from a tolerated opium culture to a system of prohibition produced a "cure" that was far worse than the disease.

Delving into a history of drugs and their abuses, Narcotic Culture is part revisionist history of imperial and twentieth-century Britain and part sobering portrait of the dangers of prohibition.

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University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
University Of Chicago Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Professor Frank Dikötter, presently teaching history at the University of Hong Kong, is one of the new breed of historians who have tackled the myths and legends that have grown up around the opening of China to the West. Previously, historians were content to uncritically accept the view that bad foreigners addicted the Chinese to opium in a series of 19th century wars, thus feeding the present-day Chinese sense of grievance toward Westerners. What Dikötter has carefully shown, working almost exclusively from impeccable primary sources, is that the truth is much more complex. At the same time, for example, that China's Dao-Guang emperor was complaining of the horrible effects connected with the importation of opium into his country, the British were calmly and quietly using opium legally in larger quantities per capita than the Chinese.

This work traces the history of opium and narcotic use throughout China over the last 200 years, paying particular attention... Read more
I was required to have this book for an elective I was taking, and upon reading this was astounded at some of the information provided. Very informative book with grave detail.
Dikkoter's claims are absurd. Imperialism always has its apologists. This is just the 'white mans' burden' in a new guise.
Dikkoter is eager to point out Mao's faults whilst eulogizing destructive Western imperialism. Hong Kong has long suffered from British brainwashing. Hong Kong people barely know their own history. That Dikkoter is able to hold down a job in one of Hong Kong's universities is an example of how thoroughly pro-Western biased scholarship has permeated Hong Kong's education system.

Dikkoter's 'brilliance' lies in the speciousness of his arguments. The Chinese had opium long before the British introduced as a means of emptying China's coffers.

Far from exposing propaganda, Dikotter is an exponent of it.
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