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Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market (2003)

by Eric Schlosser

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1,901218,382 (3.74)4
Reports on America's "shadow" economy of illegal drugs, pornography, and illegal migrant workers, arguing that these underground industries continue to grow with government intervention.

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Not as good as Fast Food Nation, but some really interesting stuff. Black market is HUGE ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
After reading Schlosser's earlier work, Fast Food Nation, I excitedly jumped into his latest work, Reefer Madness. I was disappointed.

This book felt like three other research projects he did - three projects that were on his B list. While he devoted an entire book to the the history and implication of the Fast Food industry in Fast Food Nation, he just cobbled together three subjects.

The first dealt with the views of marijuana by our government. Growing up in the Nancy Regan "Just Say No" world I always figured that government was against marijuana. In fact, the first official American government laws on marijuana asked Americans to GROW marijuana.

There were long biographies of particular marijuana farmers which I found a little long. People who were simply growing marijuana or trafficking marijuana spent more time in prisons than many murderers. Judges were given wide berths in the interpretation of trafficking, possession, and the amounts of marijuana. Sadly enough, some of the harshest critics of recreational drugs had their own children just have to attend community service and a nominal fine. Ironically, Charles Keating, Jr., who spent millions of taxpayer money on anti-drug campaigns, would get into jail for billion dollar fraud in the S&L scandals.

The second essay was about immigration workers . This has been talked about ad nauseum and the amount of page devoted hardly give it justice. I learned a lot about strawberries, but perhaps working in a Hispanic newspaper for the past four years makes it harder to give me great new insight

The third essay was about the growth of pornography mostly covering the life of a certain porn mogul (not Larry Flynt). The book lightly touched on some of the hypocrosies on our public view of porn and our private habits. There were a number of fascinating points in this essay but it just lacked focus.

That pretty much sums the book up. I congratulate Eric on a fine job of research and almost thundering together a book that would shake our thinking. ( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
I thought this book was incredbily well-written and interesting. It didn't seem like the type of book I would read but when I read it, I was hooked and couldn't stop. Plus, I picked up a lot of party trivia. For example, did you know that the first law in the United States on marijuana was that every household had to grow it? Of course, they used it to make hemp, which was a huge commodity back then, but that's the level of "Snapple-cap/Jeopardy" facts you can pick up... well, at least my stoner friends thought it was cool! haha ;) ( )
1 vote elle-kay | Jan 27, 2016 |
This one definitely showed the other side of marijuana, illegal aliens, and porn, but it was already 11 years out of print when I read it, so the data isn't so fresh. I enjoyed the writing and would read others of Eric's works. ( )
  bereanna | Sep 1, 2015 |
Very informative and absolutely infuriating. This should be required reading for everyone. ( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
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Reports on America's "shadow" economy of illegal drugs, pornography, and illegal migrant workers, arguing that these underground industries continue to grow with government intervention.

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