|The Art of Suppression: With thanks to the |
ever-glorious Devil's Kitchen for the jacket design
The idea was to create a biography of The Prohibitionist and seek an explanation for why bans begin. I wanted to see how substances—which is to say 'drugs' in the modern sense of the word, including narcotics, alcohol and tobacco—go from being benign and acceptable to becoming demonised and illegal. How does this happen? More importantly, who makes it happen?
The result is a panoramic study of prohibitions around the world, from opium-smoking in China and the crusade against alcohol in the USA to the more recent European ban on snus and the ongoing war on designer drugs. This is a story of religious zealots, vested interests, political opportunists and social deviants. Above all, it is the story of moral panics. If there is a single characteristic that unites The Prohibitionist wherever and whenever he (or she) surfaces, it is the reliance on fear over hope.
Some of the subject matter has been covered before, notably America's 'Noble Experiment' with alcohol suppression and the War on Drugs, but I hope that I have found enough fresh material to hold the interest of those who are already familiar with these wretched tales of failure. Other stories, such as the ban on snus, the attempt to ban alcohol worldwide, and Britain's quixotic battle against the likes of mephedrone ('Meow Meow') are told for the first time in this book.
The chapters are divided as follows:
1. Bone dry forever: Alcohol suppression in the USA
2. Prohibition averted: The campaign for a dry world
3. Opium: The dawn of the War on Drugs
4. Snus: If you can, ban
5. Narcotic moonshine: Designer drugs and the media
6. The Art of Suppression
The breadth of the subject matter meant that the research was exhausting at times and I wondered if I would ever get it finished, but reading it now, The Art of Suppression is what I wanted it to be—a lively, amusing and (hopefully) thought-provoking collection of stories which highlight a subject that is more relevant than ever in these prohibitionist times. This is a true labour of love and I'm very proud of it. You can read the introduction here.
The RRP is £11.99 (UK) or $19.99 (US). If you would like to receive a copy before it is officially released (signed, if you like), I can offer the book to readers of this blog at the discounted rate of £9.99 or $17.99 each—and that includes free postage.
For readers in the UK:
For readers in the rest of the world:
Because Utopia is only ever one ban away...