FRANK OWEN has been a journalist for ?fteen years, writing for Playboy, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday, The Washington Post, Spin, Details, and Vibe, among other publications. His critically acclaimed book Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture, was published in 2003 by St. Martin's Press. He lives in New York.
In this intensely researched, fascinating account of methamphetamine, Owen takes readers through the late-19th-century synthesis of ephedrine from ephedra (a medicinal plant) to meth's current status as public enemy #1. Along the way, we learn that the Nazis ate meth tablets like Now and Laters (millions of doses sustained the Wehrmacht in its rampages); meet fascinating characters like Uncle Fester, a Green Bay industrial chemist, whose books like Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture have made him a cult icon; and encounter dozens of people whose lives have been disfigured by the drug. Owen also relates how meth helped him meet deadlines as a freelance writer in the 1980s and includes the details of his own charming, four-day meth binge-for research purposes-in present-day New York City. He covers a lot of ground, literally, as he speeds through history and around the country doing interviews (longer exposure to some of the addicts and former addicts might have shed more light on exactly what makes the drug so attractive). Still, Owen's account is refreshingly clearheaded and free of hysteria. As he points out in telling detail, the current demonization of meth follows that of any number of other drug "epidemics" that have hit America over the years, with media and law enforcement learning little from one to the next. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"* "Intensely researched, fascinating... Refreshingly clearheaded and free of hysteria." - Publishers Weekly (starred review). * "Thorough and brisk... A credible commentator." - Entertainment Weekly."
Owen (Clubland) takes readers on a trip into the world(s) of methamphetamines, from the cook houses in rural and small-town Missouri to latter-day suppliers in Mexico to users across America. In this highly personal travelog of meth making, selling, using, and abusing, Owens shows how a little-known drug first popular with bikers and truckers became a national scourge. In doing so, he debunks many myths about meth addiction and supposed meth-induced antisocial and criminal behavior, and he tracks the ways law enforcement officials from the federal level to local police departments have tried first to make sense of the meth culture and then to stop the manufacture and sale of the drug. Owen writes with a lucid style, and he effectively uses illustrative examples of individual experiences in making larger points about how and why people of different backgrounds and social classes have taken to the drug. This is not a deeply scholarly study steeped in analysis so much as a ride through history and current policy. As such, it provides a useful first look at a surprisingly misunderstood drug phenomenon. Recommended for large public and university libraries.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.