Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000” as Want to Read:
Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  262 ratings  ·  41 reviews
From the narcotic allure of the bebop and Beat generations to the psychedelic 1960s, Vietnam, the cocaine-fueled disco era, the crack epidemic, and the ecstasy-induced rave culture, illegal drugs have profoundly shaped America's cultural landscape. In Can't Find My Way Home, journalist and filmmaker Martin Torgoff chronicles what a long strange trip it's been as the Americ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published May 9th 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Can't Find My Way Home, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Can't Find My Way Home

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 487)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nick Huntington-Klein
An interesting take on drug use in the postwar United States. I get the sense that the book suffers from the way that Torgoff himself came into the world of drugs in the 60's. The fawning over the heroes of the beatnik and hippie eras can get overwrought to the point of comedy, and the tone shifts so abruptly when talking about any culture that isn't a direct recreation of the 60's (complete with reappearances from Ginsberg, Leary, etc.) that I found myself unwilling to trust the book's take. Ma...more
David Ward
Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000 by Martin Torgoff (Simon & Schuster 2004) (nonfiction) is an outstanding book about drug use in American society. The book is ordered chronologically, and each chapter presents discussion about various psychoactive substances as their use became prominent, usually as a function of their time. For instance, when the book opens, jazz and bebop were popular forms of music; the author discusses the use of heroin in the context of...more
Diane Schneider
This is less a straight up history of drug use in America than an experienial history, examining the personal experiences of those that got caught up in various drug cultures throughout the latter 20th century. The author still touches on the societal reasons that these drug cultures emerged and looks at the drug cultures at large, so it doesn't feel like an anthology of drug stories. That said, I found myself eager to return to these individuals to find out what happened to them as their storie...more
Michael S
Great history of exactly what is says. interviews all of the principals including many of the pioneers (Hubert Huncke) and of course has a great discourse on the failures of the war on drugs-unless of course you have invested monies in private prisons and other failed policies of previous administrations
Aug 14, 2008 Catherine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catherine by: VH1
Shelves: non-fiction
I am only at the start of this - I got through Charlie "Bird" Parker and Kerouac and I'm now on Ginsberg & Leary and it is really interesting. It's very easy to read for an academic/non-fiction kind of book. I saw the VH1 documentaries based on this book and they were great - the music especially - but this fills in a lot more that isn't sexy enough for VH1. It's very objective- I don't think anyone not on drugs would want to start doing drugs and I don't think anyone on drugs would be convi...more
Wonderful, detailed historical book on the impact drugs has had on American artist through the 20th Century.
I really appreciated the intimate approach this book took to the lives and experiences of specific musicians, artists, and cultural figures throughout America's history. To speak of drugs in some far off way lessens the immense impact that they made on the lives of people and on our culture as a whole. Presented in earnest neutrality, this text offers the reader a detailed and sobering account of drug use throughout the decades and its presence within the many cultural, artistic, and political m...more
Jan 08, 2009 Monica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone intersted to the link between drugs and creativity
This may become my bible. Torgoff explores history of the drug culture in america starting with the jazz musicians and beat poets. it is excellent! looks at how art/culture/drugs are connected, there are first hand accounts of people who were a part of it - johnny parker, miles davis, allan gisburg, kerouac, timothy leary, etc. i am only on page 100 but am loving it, making connections to so many ideas, and while I read I'm making a list of books and music I want to check out.
Perhaps if the reader has background knowledge on all the topics the author discusses, this book would be a good read. However, coming at it with virtually no knowledge of drugs and limited knowledge of the major events of the time period, I often found myself lost. The author assumes that the reader already has knowledge of the events/people which he writes about (i.e. the Manson murders, Andy Warhol, etc.) and therefore does not explain them.
Dec 22, 2007 Justin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in drugs, music, counter-culture
This books tracks the use of drugs in post-war America by interweaving music, culture and tales of drug-users, both famous and common. It does not glorify nor condemn drug use, rather it gives a balanced and captivating look at how drugs have shaped American culture for both good or bad.

Anyone interested in the counter-culture movements of the past century will find this book a very enjoyable read.
quick notes:

-didn't read it back to back. partly due to time constraints and partly because it was very exhaustive and not always interesting.

-good overview of certain cultural movements

-many chapters glorify drugs, but not all. all chapters seek to explain the reason particular drugs were embraced at a particular time.

Enjoyed reading it as I did.
Jul 30, 2013 Austin added it
Pretty okay; florid at times. Hard to tell whether this book was necessary or not. The chapters on Charlie Parker and the pre-Hippie use of drugs were interesting, but once it got into profiling famous hippies, it began to lose something for me. Overall, though, a pretty decent retrospective of the U.S.'s "drug years."
Derek Ellsworth
Wonder why the War on Drugs seems to be either not working or bogus from the beginning? How did drugs seep into our culture after WWII and explode in the 60's and 70's? This book has all those answers and took this guy 10 years to write it, but he got to interview all the big players.
I found out about this book when my hubby and I had been watching a drug show on either the history channel or some other cable channel. I was really interested on getting the history of drugs. I enjoyed the ride! It took me forever to finish, but well worth it.
The book does not falter on interesting, if you need a history on drug use this book is it. I would only suggest you not read any other books when you read this one, it takes alot of focus. It's a book you only read once put on your shelf and feel good you finished.
Really cool history of drug use in America. Great insight from many of the players in each era (Oliver Stone and Tom Robbins have some classic lines). Of course, a lot of it took place in the Bay Area so it was very interesting from that perspective.
Really interesting for anyone who loves music or is interested in American culture, I keep picking it up and putting it down though. I get really into it and then he takes too long to make his point and I get tired of it again. One day I will finish.
Rob Schoenbach
The History of Drug Use in our country from the 40s on. It is amazing how he pin-points actual parties and moments where the tide changed from one drug to another. I think it also has a neat message and definitions for control and beyond control.
LOVED THIS BOOK. I don't know if it is bad that I loved this book as much as I did since it was all about drugs throughout the years and how they affected the music, art, and the youth of any particular decade. But I did. And I will admit it.
Garrett Rowe
I enjoy this type of writing greatly to disect and attempt to understand the drug culture is interesting on many differing levels to me. I wouldnt say its the best writing but it does what it is suppossed to do.
This is a super interesting and readable account of the drug culture in the US with regards to the music world. Definitely a worthwhile book if you're into musical history and culture studies.
This book was a great read. It was easy and interesting. If you like drugs and history pick this book up. It was great to hear first and second hand accounts of how drugs have shaped America.
Alan Thomas
An Important book. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. History, future, drug policy implications. Very well researched, written, great writing, fun and exciting and dangerous to read.
Martin is great, learned how to write books that get made into mini-series for TV and get more readers! last time around he skipped the decade it takes to write the book and went straight to VH1
Really long, but this guy went through a lot... and did a lot of drugs in the process. Entertaining and fused with my knowledge of social american history of the eras in his book.
Stephanie Duffield
Not only an encyclopedia of the drugs available in Amercia for the last 60 years but also stories associated with those drugs illustrating there affects on the body and society.
This book is so long I was never able to finish it. However, what I did read was intriguing and enjoyable. I learned a lot about America's counter culture...
Nov 02, 2007 Kelly is currently reading it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in drugs and music in American history within the past century
still learning - have learned a lot about Charlie Parker's influence in bringing heroin to Harlem.. also about the coining the words "beat" and "kicks"
Awesome book! An epic look at drugs and American culture in modern history from an entertaining, in depth and non biased viewpoint...
Aug 03, 2007 Travis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone intersted in the history of the drug movement in America
learned a lot about Charlie (Bird) Parker, not to mention the usual heads, Alpert, Leary, Kesey, Burroughs and more to come...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hero of the Underground: A Memoir
  • Living with the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead
  • Hip: The History
  • Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out
  • The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary
  • The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World
  • Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe V Wade
  • Daring To Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America 1967-1975
  • Hippie
  • Meat is Murder
  • Long Time Gone
  • Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture
  • The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage
  • Steal This Book
  • Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion
  • Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead
  • Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970
  • When I Grow up: A Memoir
Can't Find My Way Home American Fool: The Roots and Improbable Rise of John Cougar Mellencamp Elvis We Love You Tender The Complete Elvis The Complete Elvis

Share This Book