High Society: The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science & CultureBy: Mike Jay
An illustrated cultural history of drug use from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals
• Featuring artwork from the upcoming High Society exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, one of the world’s greatest medical history collections
• Explores the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods
• Reveals how drugs drove the global trade and cultural exchange that made the modern world
• Examines the causes of drug prohibitions a century ago and the current “war on drugs”
Every society is a high society. Every day people drink coffee on European terraces and kava in Pacific villages; chew betel nut in Indonesian markets and coca leaf on Andean mountainsides; swallow ecstasy tablets in the clubs of Amsterdam and opium pills in the deserts of Rajastan; smoke hashish in Himalayan temples and tobacco and marijuana in every nation on earth.
Exploring the spectrum of drug use throughout history--from its roots in animal intoxication to its future in designer neurochemicals--High Society paints vivid portraits of the roles drugs play in different cultures as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols, and coveted trade goods. From the botanicals of the classical world through the mind-bending self-experiments of 18th- and 19th-century scientists to the synthetic molecules that have transformed our understanding of the brain, Mike Jay reveals how drugs such as tobacco, tea, and opium drove the global trade and cultural exchange that created the modern world and examines the forces that led to the prohibition of opium and cocaine a century ago and the “war on drugs” that rages today.
Table of Contents
A Universal Impulse
High Societies - The Evolution of Drugs - Animal Intoxication - Drugs and Shamanism - Drugs and Culture - The Culture of Kava - The Culture of Betel - Drug Prohibitions - Drug Subcultures - The Cultures of Ecstasy
From Apothecary to Laboratory
What Is a Drug? - Drugs in Antiquity - Renaissance Herbals - Witches and Flying Ointments - The Invention of Laudanum - Linnaeus and the Enlightenment - The First Synthetic Drugs - Opium and the Romantics - The Club des Haschischins - Freud and Cocaine - Addiction and Drug Control - Mescaline, LSD, and Beyond - Drugs of the Future
The Drugs Trade
Drugs of the New World - The Psychoactive Revolution - Tobacco in China, Tea in Europe - The Opium Wars - The Anti-Opium campaign - Temperance and Prohibition - The 'War on Drugs' - Epilogue: The Decline of Tobacco
About the Author:
Mike Jay is a leading specialist in the study of drugs across history and cultures. The author of Artificial Paradises, Emperors of Dreams, and The Atmosphere of Heaven, his critical writing on drugs has appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The International Journal of Drug Policy. He sits on the editorial board of the addiction journal Drugs and Alcohol Today and on the board of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. He lives in England.