This is the second in a two-part series in which experts reveal their favorite books about the American drug war. Part one can be found here.
As election season gears up, a few political books have garnered attention. Certainly, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was revisited or poked fun at by many after vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's adoration of the objectivist literature came to light. Amazon is playing its part in highlighting popular election-themed books with its map that determines a state's party affiliation based on the number of "red" or "blue" books purchased there.
Still, some important topics are being skirted as far as political books are concerned. One such topic: The war on drugs. Just last summer, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a statement that "the war on drugs has failed," but what exactly does this mean? How can Americans help decrease illegal drug sales and usage? Do Americans even view this as an important objective? And how have Americans' opinions on drug policies changes over the years?
We've consulted experts on American drug policy, including authors and non-profit leaders, to suggest reading material that can help answer these questions. Check out these books on the topic. Both new reads and older, more comprehensive histories are included:
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"Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know"
Public opinion supporting legalization of marijuana is now rounding the 50% mark, according to recent polls, and legalization initiatives are headed to the ballot in three states this November. "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know" was authored by past and present RAND analysts Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken and Beau Kilmer, and UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, and analyzes the possible outcomes from marijuana legalization generally, as well as what may happen if a state legalizes marijuana before the federal government does. -Doug Borden, Executive Director of StopTheDrugWar.org.
"Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: the Problems of Prohibition"
The horrific drug war violence gripping Mexico has focused attention on the security implications of the current drug control system. "Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: the Problems of Prohibition" was written by former British top spy Nigel Inkster and researcher Virginia Comolli, for The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). -Doug Borden, Executive Director of StopTheDrugWar.org.
"Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke"
It's important to remember that drug policy is not just an academic issue, but a human one involving great suffering and injustice. And so the third book I've chosen is one about a needless tragedy that made many of us in the movement especially sad when it happened. Dean Kuiper's "Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke," tells the story of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm's countercultural gathering place, targeted by a prosecutor for asset forfeiture, burned to the ground first by Crosslin and Rohm before they died in a standoff with police.
"El Narco: The Rise of Mexico's Criminal Insurgency"
"A great overview of what's happening in Mexico and why by an experienced journalist on the front lines. It includes several first-hand accounts and interviews with people directly involved in drug dealing and killing, and has just enough history to provide great insight without weighing the reader down." -Sylvia Longmire, author of "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars"
"Amexica: War Along the Borderline"
In "Amexica," Vulliamy offers a unique on-the-ground perspective by traveling the entire US-Mexico border from west to east, stopping along the way on both sides of it to talk to everyone from ranchers, drug dealers, assassins, police officers, drug addicts, and priests. Not designed to dig to deeply into history or policy, it offers a very vivid and engrossing look into the human side of the drug war from several different perspectives. -Sylvia Longmire, author of "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars"
"The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo, the World's Most Wanted Drug Lord"
Few criminals in our time have been more elusive than Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the head of Mexico's notorious Sinaloa Federation. Using the hunt for "El Chapo" as a centerpiece, Beith intersperses anecdotes about the drug lord's rise to power with overviews of the various aspects of the drug war in Mexico. -Sylvia Longmire, author of "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars"
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