No Speed Limit: The Highs and Lows of Meth
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No Speed Limit: The Highs and Lows of Meth

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  174 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Hells Angels and fallen televangelist Ted Haggard. Cross-country truckers and suburban mothers. Trailer parks, gay sex clubs, college campuses, and military battlefields. In this fascinating book, Frank Owen traces the spread of methamphetamine—meth—from its origins as a cold and asthma remedy to the stimulant wiring every corner of American culture.

Meth is the latest “e...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 24th 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2007)
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This book is both maddening and fascinating. There's a ton of stuff I didn't know in this book - like that meth was legal and very popular during the 50s and 60s and that it was used, partially, to control women (their weight and their attitudes)during a time when America was expanding to the suburbs and women were trapped in their homes all day, often in the middle of nowhere. All of this history I found very compelling.

The maddening part of this book is the author's attitude. The author's pros...more
I don't know what it was that lead me to order a copy of this book to read, but I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. The author, a former recreational meth user, explores the history and the evolution of meth through research and personal interviews with meth users, former meth users, children who grew up in meth labs, politicians, and social workers. Owen's opinion on the so-called "meth epidemic" is fascinating and laced with strong assertions about the addictiveness of the drug in its many...more
Read this book faster than most.
Ok, there are some positives to this book, like it doesn't act like meth is some super industrial drug that you are immediately addicted to and kills you after 5 years. Additionally, it points out that meth cooks aren't (as a rule, there are obviously exceptions) toothless rubes that need a Walter White figure (he sorta already exists as the Neo-Nazi connected Uncle Fester who writes guides to meth cooking, making .44 black talon rounds and making chemical weapons) as most meth recipes net you a...more
John E. Branch Jr.
Anyone with a fairly broad experience of life in America will realize that, while habits such as drinking and smoking must sensibly be counted as drug use, they're hardly the only drugs Americans are using. Journalist Frank Owen turns his attention in this book to one of those that has gone underground in recent decades, methamphetamine, and its earlier version, amphetamine. He knows from personal history (which he recounts) that it's a potent chemical to be messing with, and he devotes most of...more
I read about this book on and decided to order it and another book on meth addiction at the same time, and managed to read both this weekend sick in bed. There's nothing like reading about the highs and lows of drug addiction to combat the snotty feeling associated with a head cold.

This book contains a lot of good and realistic (as far as I can tell, not having first hand knowledge of th drug) facts and commentary. It follows the emergence of meth, from WW2 to the present -- from phar...more
Im not really sure why I picked up two different books about meth (the other was about a gay Iowan tweaker) last time I visited the library. It's not a drug I'd ever consider (I'm still borderline straight-edge, and would sooner do most other drugs than risk what meth would turn my already borderline ocd personality into), but its one thats fascinating to me. Why would people do a drug to help them hyper-focus? Isn't that the opposite of why most people take drugs? Part of the fascination may be...more
"No Speed Limit" is a fascinating exploration of the latest American drug "epidemic." I'm happy to say I've never taken crystal meth, but I have some idea what it might feel like after reading this book. And it ain't a good thing. Unless you like giant talking cockroaches, rotten teeth, and not sleeping for four days straight. Well, the latter does have some appeal...

I'm giving this book four stars for some of the same reasons other reviewers have done so. "No Speed Limit" is organized thematica...more
This is a very accessible history of the use and manufacture of amphetamines in the United States. Meth is a interesting drug to focus on because its production and distribution does not (or has not in the past) rely on organized crime; anyone can make meth. In fact, reading this book made me very curious to try making some myself, just to see if I could. Don't worry- that impulse, as well as the one to purchase and read some of the other "DIY" books mentioned by the author ("Silent Death," abou...more
I got really hopped up on coffee and read this book in about two days. It tells an interesting story, from the Mexican cartels taking over the Hells Angels' business to pharmaceutical lobbyists blocking anti-meth legislation to a description of the Chelsea drug-club scene that reads like some moralistic science fiction novel. The author is obviously adept at writing for snarky magazines, which means that the book moved along well but that there's this annoying tone of cynicism throughout. He als...more
Ok book. The facts we're very interesting, such as that even James Bond was shown taken drugs. Ditto for the stories of parents who neglected their kids while taking meth, plus those of gay men on meth who we're practically sex machines.

But other than that it is hard to tell what the book was trying to accomplish. He tells how the epedemic (which I didn't really know was an epedemic) was exagerrated by the press and government agencies. He also says that maybe meth isn't that serious a drug.

I do...more
The number one thing about this book was that it is a very well researched book. I enjoyed seeing all the numerical and first hand facts that were included. The valuable part to it was the author's first hand experience and description of taking drugs. The experiences were described in a scientific way that fit very well with the journalistic approach of the book.

The down sides to this book would be that the author did seem to loop back on himself and repeat what was previously stated. The time...more
so far, this has been a damn good read...took it as train reading en route to a bar last night and actually managed a couple of pages in my stupor on the trip back has the pacing of a magazine article for Esquire/GQ/Rolling Stone...focuses on the current speed craze in the suburban and rural regions of the United States and its origins (big pharma sells a cure all and doctors get caught up in dispensing the wonder drug to as many folks as they can) and paths of dissemination via armed...more
Thanks, "Breaking Bad" - for making me broaden my meth knowledge. Interesting and informative. Just glad I managed to avoid a drug that was totally marketed toward people like me - legally - in the 50's and 60's. Wow. Just wow.
I'm currently fascinated by drug culture and this wonderful little book satiated all my druggie needs. It was mostly about meth, but I didn't know that different drugs take over different regions in the US and probably the world too. On the good and bad side, I found out that meth does make the skinny and have a lot of energy, but also of course rips your world apart and threatens one's well-being. A great read if you want to experience drugs the safe way.
 Big Jones
a good read. I was not aware of the epidemic of Meth in our military. No wonder our armed service has such a rape problem.
I grew up in Franklin County, Missouri, which should (hopefully) explain my desire to read about the culture. It's funny how safe and drug-free Los Angeles seems in comparison.

I really enjoyed this book because it wasn't anti-drug, and it steered clear of the hysteria that dominates most meth talk without ever supporting heavy-duty meth use either. Engrossing and educational.

(Also a fun book to read at the gym.)
Well-researched, well-written and very readable book about the history of meth. Kept my attention until 3/4 way thru when it just became about stats and numbers. Then I sorta lost it and had difficulty finishing. If you're interested in substance abuse and/or where the US supply of meth originates, then read it. It's interesting.
May 05, 2008 Elisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in the history of cultural shifts and the drug culture
Debunks a lot of myths about meth. I couldn't put it down, but it is definently not a must read. Unless perhaps you must read about Meth: the history, myths and truths about it. If that is the case, then this is the book for you.

Or if you have a weird fascination with the drug culture, like me.
Like Karen said...the book started off really interesting. The last two chapters were ho hum. Glad I finally finished this though. It's tough to read when you know so many who are on it, or were and are now in prison. I've never done it and have no desire to ever touch the shit.
Well researached--however, Owen's own experimentation leads the reader to believe he has not talked to any elementary school teachers, public prosecutors or defenders, child welfare officials, or anyone else connected to meth use.
The first half of this book is really interesting -- I learned a lot about the history of meth use (plus, there's a lot of mention of KS and MO). The last half gets a little dry and boring -- lots of statistics and numbers. Recommended.
A bit all over the place, but a solid introduction to the ways amphetamines have impacted our society. Can get a bit asshole libertarian at times, but worth it if only for the author's described experiences on the drug.
Lots of new things learned about meth from this book, and since i live in two counties well known for meth labs, maybe I should know more about this drug than I did. I do know it ruins a lot of lives and helps no one.
As a fan of the "Intervention" TV show, I found this study on the history and abuse of methamphetamine fascinating. Cuts through the hysteria of the media and presents a clear eyed picture of the problem.
Jan 26, 2008 Shawn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the literate
Recommended to Shawn by: Terry Gross
Very good history of Amphetamines. From a WWII front line drug used by all the armies to how it morphed into wide use in postwar America to it's current state. Can you say "faith-based drug exorcism"?
Part of my grim/fascinating research into meth and meth culture for a story I'm planning to write. This one starts very strongly, meanders and repeats itself a little midstream, then closes well.
Joe Blow
Jan 11, 2008 Joe Blow rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Not Meth-Addicts, Not Paranoid Mothers
Recommended to Joe Blow by: N.P.R.
Easy to read, full of scary info on Meth-heads. Not a dull moment. A good history lesson on where Meth came from and where it is going. It makes me twitch thinking about it.
Sorry, I don't see what the accolades are about. It's a capable and thorough discussion of the drug and its history, but there was nothing earth-shaking here. I'm baffled.
Written by a drug-snorting journalist, this book has a lot more flair and style than most of the non-ficiton I've read lately. Plus it's all about degenerates!
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