Eric C. Schneider: Smack Heroin and the American City Politics and Culture in Modern America



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This is a worthwhile history of the heroin trade in the 20th century that is unfortunately combined with excessive and strained explanations for heroin use and some contradictory stories about the elative importance of supply and demand in creating the heroin epidemicThe Omnibus Films real story here is about New York City which as late as the mid 1960s had almost half the countries heroin users Theeason is that the city was an entrepot for the Turkish heroin travelling through Marseilles the French Connection which was then shipped throughout the country by the New York Mafia families but of course a lot of it trickled down into the black and Puerto Rican communities This convergence of supply and use would seem to argue for the importance of supply in creating a local market for the drug but Schneider spends much of the book arguing that supply was irrelevant and only poverty which created demand mattered in explaining drug use the I m poor so I will shoot heroin explanation If poverty alone was the problem why was New York which wasn t as impoverished as so many other cities the indisputable center It was its importance as a distribution pointStill much of the book is level headed and intriguing with surprisingly clear descriptions of the history. Why do the vast majority of heroin users live in cities In his provocative history of heroin in the United States Eric C Schneider explains what is distinctively urban about this undisputed king of underworld drugsDuring the twentieth century New York City was the nation's heroin capital over half of all known addicts lived there and underworld bosses like Vito Genovese Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas used their international networks to import and distribute the drug to cities throughout the country generating vast sums of capital in eturn Schneider uncovers how New York as the principal distribution hub organized the global trade in heroin and su.

Of federal and local drug policy from the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 to the birth of Methadone clinics in New York in 1969 and onwards If you e interested in drug history and policy this is actually one of the better books out there Good book The importance of peer influence in heroin proliferation is interesting and I think correct We see the power of peer influence in other areas as well But it is interesting that social elites musicians in this case were the fuse for the problem it is interesting that people want to be like the Slave Again (Whispers of Refuge rich the cool the talented the famous and we will grab onto anything to be like themin this case to take their drug of choice Once that takes hold in some individuals then they spread the coolness to their peersA lot of talk of the marginalized yeah ok heroin addiction is caused by Anglo white males pile on Great but too easy Suburban teenagers who listened to the Ramones and the Beasty Boys were drug users tooand they probably drove their parents Cadillacs to pick up the drugs As long as we continue to take away individualesponsibility for drug use from the individual and blame someone else will it ever be fixed Do marginalized people ever take drugs because they are lazy stupid wicked irresponsible bor. Stained the subcultures that supported its useThrough interviews with former junkies and clinic workers and in depth archival esearch Schneider also chronicles the dramatically shifting demographic profile of heroin users Originally popular among working class whites in the 1920s heroin became associated with jazz musicians and Beat writers in the 1940s Musician Red Rodney called heroin the trademark of the bebop generation It was the thing that gave us membership in a uniue club he proclaimed Smack takes eaders through the typical haunts of heroin users 52nd Street jazz clubs Times Suare cafeterias Chicago's South Side street corners to explai.

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Ed and don t want to do what 90% of the population does everyday get up go to a boring job pay bills Autumn Days with the Moodys (Moody Family raise kids etc Non marginalized people can be lazy stupid wicked irresponsible and bored which seems to be theeasons they take drugs why can t marginalized people be like this Are the poor immune from being the source of their own vice Is this part of the definition of being marginalized 90% of life is just mundanemaybe these people just don t want to be mundane so they see the jazz and punk musicians and want to be like them because they are not mundane and then they become trapped in a world worse than the mundane the world of momentary thrills that fade and need to be fueled again and again through drugs We live in a sinful world and sinful people do sinful things But that s tough to admit and for many they don t even think this is true So they identify victims and the oppressors and perpetuate a blame game that ultimately solves nothing Not too dry for an academic history this book s subject is fascinating It turns out the history of heroin is also the history of globalized trade of American Reindeer and Caribou: Health and Disease race politics and of urbanestructuring post WW2 Very solid history of heroin s progress through the thicket of US drug morality and egulatio. N how young people were initiated into the drug culture Smack ecounts the explosion of heroin use among middle class young people in the 1960s and 1970s It became the drug of choice among a wide swath of youth from hippies in Haight Ashbury and soldiers in Vietnam to punks on the Lower East Side Panics over the drug led to the passage of increasingly severe legislation that entrapped heroin users in the criminal justice system without addressing the issues that led to its use in the first place The book ends with a meditation on the evolution of the war on drugs and addresses why efforts to solve the drug problem must go beyond eliminating suppl.