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Chasing the Scream
Cover of Chasing the Scream
Chasing the Scream
The Inspiration for the Feature Film "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
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The New York Times BestsellerWhat if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question—and to write the...
The New York Times BestsellerWhat if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question—and to write the...
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  • The New York Times Bestseller

    What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question—and to write the book that gave rise to his viral TED talk, viewed more than 62 million times, and inspired the feature film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and the documentary series The Fix.

    One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not being able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, not knowing what to do, he set out and traveled over 30,000 miles over three years to discover what really causes addiction—and what really solves it.
    He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories—of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their own war on drugs—with extraordinary results.
    Chasing the Scream is the story of a life-changing journey that transformed the addiction debate internationally—and showed the world that the opposite of addiction is connection.

About the Author-

  • Johann Hari is a writer and journalist. He has written for the New York Times, Le Monde, the Guardian and other newspapers. His TED talks have been viewed over 70 million times, and his work has been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah to Noam Chomsky to Joe Rogan. He lives in London.
    www.johannhari.com
    @johannhari101

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 20, 2014
    In his first book, journalist Hari takes readers on a historical tour of the devastation wrought by the global war on drugs, beginning at the turn of the 20th century with Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and Arnold Rothstein, the Prohibition-era kingpin of New York. Hari dutifully documents the individual lives encroached on by the war on drugs, from the addicts made into pariahs by the zealousness of Anslinger’s acolytes to the Brooklyn corner boys and Mexican cartels whose violence continues to destroy communities, as well as the doctors ruined by the quixotic struggle to enact meaningful reform and research. Hari’s investigation leads him to research labs conducting experiments that challenge the classic pharmaceutical model of addiction, presenting more complex theories that see addiction as symptomatic of larger sociological and psychological issues and argue that addiction is both less serious and more treatable than the antidrug lobby claims. Eventually coming to the belief that the best strategy is to “legalize drugs stage by stage, and use the money we currently spend on punishing addicts to fund compassionate care instead,” Hari ends his journey in Uruguay, Portugal, and Switzerland, where successful movements to legalize and decriminalize drugs offer hope for the future. Hari has made a stimulating hybrid of a book—simultaneously a readable history of the war on drugs and a powerful case for radical reform. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2014
    Award-winning journalist Hari's multistrand examination of the war on drugs, spanning 100 years from inception to the present day.Through a smattering of narratives, the author looks at the centennial of the war on drugs from the time it was legislated with the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in 1914. Blending sociology, history and reportage with novelistic detail, Hari uses the narratives of the first American drug czar Harry Anslinger, jazz singer and addict Billie Holiday, and drug-dealing gangster Arnold Rothstein as archetypes to point out how the war continually perpetuates itself with shocking intensity and contradiction. The author is a sharp judge of character, and he wisely notes that the underlying reason for drug prohibition was not an altruistic desire to protect people from harmful and addictive chemical substances but rather fear "that the blacks, Mexicans, and Chinese were using these chemicals, forgetting their place, and menacing white people." It certainly seems that the primary goal of the war was to repress minorities and solidify white dominance, and little has changed in the past 100 years. Racial discrimination continues to dominate discussions of the drug war's effectiveness; a majority of nonviolent drug offenders are black, yet statistics show that drug use across races is equal. Alarming, though well-known statistics such as this are peppered throughout the many profiles Hari shares from his travels around the world to experience the repercussions of the drug war firsthand. While the author harangues the singularly negative consequences of drug prohibition, he discusses the case of Portugal, where all drugs have been decriminalized since 2001; there, the average drug use is now lower than any rate in Europe. It is one of the few glimmers of hope, alongside movements to legalize marijuana, in a worldwide war whose fight should not be against drugs but for humanity in general. A compassionate and humane argument to overturn draconian drug policies.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2014

    Journalist Hari makes a compelling case for abandoning the war on drugs, legalizing and controlling addictive substances, and spending instead on prevention, support, and treatment.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times Superb journalism and thrilling story-telling.

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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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Chasing the Scream
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The Inspiration for the Feature Film "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
Johann Hari
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