Download Opium: Reality’s Dark Dream by Thomas Dormandy PDF

By Thomas Dormandy

Opium and its derivatives morphine and heroin have destroyed, corrupted, and killed participants, households, groups, or even entire countries. And but, for many of its lengthy background, opium has additionally been humanity's most popular technique of assuaging actual and psychological ache. This outstanding booklet encompasses the total heritage of the world's such a lot attention-grabbing drug, from the 1st facts of poppy cultivation through stone-age guy to the present-day opium alternate in Afghanistan. Dr. Thomas Dormandy tells the tale with verve and perception, uncovering the unusual energy of opiates to inspire significant conflicts but additionally motivate nice artwork and scientific breakthroughs, to set off the increase of worldwide legal networks but additionally revolutionize attitudes towards well-being.

Opium: Reality's darkish Dream traverses the globe and the centuries, exploring opium's function in colonialism, the chinese language Opium Wars, laudanum-inspired elegant Romantic poetry, American "Yellow Peril" fears, the increase of the Mafia and the black marketplace, Nineteen Sixties counterculture, and extra. Dr. Dormandy additionally recounts unique or unhappy tales of person habit. through the booklet the writer emphasizes opium's complicated, useful dating with advancements in drugs, well-being, and disorder, highlighting the complicated twin nature of the drug as either the reason and aid of serious affliction in generally diversified civilizations.

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Extra info for Opium: Reality’s Dark Dream

Sample text

Indd 24 27/01/12 2:14 PM CHAPTER 4 Rival brews P edanius Dioscorides was born in Anazarba in Cilicia (today’s south-east Turkey) and served for ten years as a surgeon in Nero’s army. The peripatetic life let him indulge his passion for collecting plants, both exotic and ordinary, and his martial exploits earned him a plot of land in Macedonia. His profession also fostered a brisk literary style which is not without a certain parade-ground charm. 1 In this massive work he discussed the merits and drawbacks of 342 medicinal plants.

Is it also the most wasteful, misguided and corrupt? Opinions differ. The past never provides clear answers; but pointers surface uninvited. *** Sir William Osler in his praise and William Stewart Halsted in his condemnation were both right. So were other experts who have passionately contradicted each other. Opium and its derivatives have destroyed, degraded, corrupted and killed individuals, families, communities and even whole nations. Yet many doctors before Osler have said that without the blessed effects of opium on their patients they could not have faced their profession.

On a vandalised but still attractive wall painting in Pompeii she bends over a pregnant woman and pours poppy juice over her closed eyelids. In the literary field opium found a welcome in the forerunners of air-travel blockbusters as well as in the more rarefied world of poetry. Lucian of Samosata (on the border of today’s Syria and Turkey) wrote in Greek but was probably an Assyrian or one of the Jewish diaspora. He was funny and rude; and, judging by the number of copies of his works (or of works attributed to him) which survive, a best-seller.

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