Book Review: Chasing the Scream

A deep history of the War on Drugs.


Chasing the Scream

By Johann Hari

BLOOMSBURY

The drug war is viewed by many as a 40-year-old waste of resources. But in this beautifully written book, British journo Johann Hari shows that its roots extend as far back as the early 1900s, when young Harry Anslinger heard the shrieks of a neighbor in withdrawal; he grew up to lead the Bureau of Narcotics, the DEA’s precursor, pioneering ruthless drug policies that endured for decades. Knowing his work would be scrutinized due to a past plagiarism scandal, Hari spent three years meticulously researching and footnoting the book, which puts a vivid human face on our behemoth and often abstract anti-drug efforts.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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