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This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America
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This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  320 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Everything we know about drugs-from acid to epidemics to DARE and salvia-turns out to be wrongStock up on munchies and line up your water bottles: journalist Ryan Grim will take you on a cross-country tour of illicit drug use in the U.S.-from the agony (the huge DEA bust of an acid lab in an abandoned missile silo in Kansas) to the ecstasy (hallucinogens at raves and music ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Wiley
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Rebecca McNutt
May 15, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it liked it
Interesting book, mostly a collection of drug-related conspiracy theories. It felt like more detail was needed in many areas of the book, though. I enjoyed it, but a lot of it was filler and druggie jokes.
Dec 19, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it
This is an important, sweeping history and condemnation of the War on Drugs, full of real-world anecdotes and statistics to back up the premise that every time the government or prohibition movements manage to crack down on one substance, Americans shift to using another, making "progress" in prohibition impossible. The chapters on the hypocrisy of U.S. global policy vis-à-vis U.S. drug policy to be especially thought provoking--(e.g., evidence the CIA aided and abetted opium/heroin traffickers ...more
Dec 22, 2013 Elliot rated it liked it
I found the book quite interesting, particularly as a rather counter-culture version of the history of a number of different drugs, the cyclical trends of their use/popularity, and the hypocrisy and even counter-effectiveness of drug policies. However, the author desperately needs an editor. He frequently repeats himself, even with the exact same wording in examples and stories. It's almost as if he were intending to write a giant textbook in which any one section could be consulted on its own r ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Book rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim

"This Is Your Country on Drugs..." is the interesting history of getting high in America. "Gonzo" journalist Ryan Grim takes us on a first person tour through many interesting topics covering the impact of policies on the drug use of Americans and why it has been an utter failure. The book is composed of following fourteen chapters: 1. The Acid Casualty, 2. A Pharmacopoeia Utopia, 3. Prohibition, Inc., 4. A
Jun 06, 2014 Frrobins rated it did not like it
I had to give up on this about half way through. This book lacked a thesis and, combined with the way the author would skip from topic to topic with little flow, and then randomly pick back on a dropped topic, this made reading it rather frustrating. When the author mentioned he'd gotten on prescription amphetamines just to write this book, I couldn't help but laugh and wryly think that that explained the disorganization in it.

I was also bothered by how I did not feel as though I was getting the
Peter Certo
Feb 24, 2015 Peter Certo rated it really liked it
an excellent overview on the futility of the drug war, and a wonderful testament to the human drive to get high.

as a study of actual drug culture, the book is rather limited -- it focuses mostly on the author's excursions in various psychedelic subcultures. these are among the book's more interesting passages, but there's not much insight into drug cultures that grim himself has never participated in.

grim's day job is reporting on congress, so it's no surprise that a larger chunk of the book is
Jul 13, 2015 HeavyReader rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-history, bookmooch
This book has a 2009 copyright, so it's missing more recent history of drugs like bath salts and "not pot" like K2. It's interesting to see the author predict drug policy (such as the illegality of salvia) and thing, yep, that happened.

It was also interesting to read about how the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. lead to increased opium use throughout the country.

The "history of getting high in America" as told here focused mostly on the 1960s on. Of course, there was information given about
Elaine Nelson
People like to get f'd up...and Americans even more so. (I read a book once, a long time ago, that asserted that the Inuit (?) were the only people who didn't have a native intoxicant/psychotropic tradition, and that's only because there's nothing to make anything from.) Only touches on the early years very lightly: the now well-known (to me) fact of the early settlers' amazing drunkenness, and all that, spending much more time with the late 19th and 20th centuries.

His basic premise is that if o
Johnny D
Jul 28, 2012 Johnny D rated it really liked it
Just before Christmas my mother sent me a website filled with extremely cheap books and asked me to send her a list of the ones I thought were interesting.

When I added this one to the list I thought for sure that my mother would ignore it and buy me something like "101 Ways to Be a Better Christian" instead. Nope, she went ahead and ordered this one. And as interesting as "101 Ways to Be a Better Christian" might be, this was far better. Yes, I know, I haven't read "101 Ways to Be a Better Chris
Jan 01, 2010 Erik rated it it was amazing
If this subject interests you at all, you must read this book. I have read reams on the subject and this is by far the most well written and accessible I have encountered. Whereas many drug policy books are written in a scholarly, heavily footnoted format that may turn a casual reader off, Grim blends personal anecdote, interviews, and research seamlessly to create a comprehensive work that is both engaging and educational. While it took me weeks to get through Jacob Sullum's "Saying Yes" I coul ...more
Oct 15, 2009 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
This was very informative and interesting, but something was lacking. I'm not sure exactly what. The trivia was stellar, but I find myself thinking it was missing a central thesis. Except I know this isn't true - it had a central thesis: that americans like to get high, and whenever the government tries to do something about it, unexpected consequences occur. I guess the obviousness of that thesis jarrs slightly with the wonderful research into the various stories - like the bust that made LSD i ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Bri rated it liked it
This is Your Country on Drugs by Ryan Grim, is an informative overview of a variety of drugs used throughout the American history beggining with the use of LSD. Grim is not at all secrative with his drug experiences and shares several anecdotes from his life in the book. Grim uses an exorbent amount of evidence in his overview of Americas drug use and what brought each drug into tipping into being used mainstream. Grim's writing however is bouncy and at times difficult to follow. There is a lack ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Amelia rated it liked it
This book is a tad outdated at this point (pre-2008 election), but still has a good deal of information about the past, present, and future of drug use in America. It is written from the perspective of someone who has used and enjoyed drugs, so I do think it takes a more accepting view of their use. On the other hand, it is interesting to see how accepting America used to be of drug use and how seemingly insignificant moments can turn the national opinion to create a "war on drugs."
Jul 13, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Ryan Grim weaves a compelling narrative of America's relationship with drugs by connecting aggressive reporting with personal anecdotes. While many books about drug history and drug culture are hard to take completely seriously, Grim's background as a solid political reporter lends credibility to his telling of the facts. Neither anti-drug screed nor a pro-drug polemic, This Is Your Country On Drugs is an easy-to-read primer on American drug policy.
Sep 25, 2012 Kayla rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book the whole way through. I like how it started out with acid at Burning Man and ended with acid at Burning Man, while giving you the whole history on the drug war, national policy, and why California is the way it is. One of my favorite lines is, "if the system eventually encompassed all of California's pot smokers, the tax revenue would be in the range of around $2 billion". To that I say fully legalize weed, Cali needs the money!
David Ward
Jan 23, 2016 David Ward rated it liked it
This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim (John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2009 ) (306.1). This is a series of essays on illicit drug use in the United States. Of particular interest is the chapter about LSD use after the 1960's and one about a California medical marijuana dispensary. According to the author, the LSD supply around the country dried up when the Grateful Dead stopped touring. Well duh! My rating: 7/10, finished 2009.
Tom Hamilton
Oct 09, 2009 Tom Hamilton rated it liked it
Decent overview of Drugs in America. The guy did a lot of drugs in his research. He points a mocking finger at our drug policy. He ends the book with a comment about how the drug scene is infested with liars. I get the feeling that anyone who didn't agree with this guy wouldn't have a hard time discrediting him, but I like what he's saying.
Dec 13, 2010 Loren rated it really liked it
It took me quite a while to get through this book because it is so incredibly detailed. There are so many misconceptions about the history of drugs as well as our present state. Should be required reading for most high school student and anyone who has a friend or a family member who has a "drug problem."
Jun 25, 2014 Nicole added it
Not the best read. It was chock full of totally interesting information, astonishing facts, conspiracies, news, characters, everything that you really want in a current history book. But it kind of lost momentum toward the end, I was kind of overwhelmed with content after a certain point, really wondering where it was going.
Aug 07, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
The information presented was really interesting and related a lot of effects that foreign policy and even the so-called drug war has done to drug use and perceptions. The biggest flaws I found were that some of the information, particularly in the first half of the book, wasn't organized in a very coherent way and there was a lot of overlap.
May 27, 2010 Alpha rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
3.5/5 - Pretty interesting. The data is a bit overwhelming at times, but the author does a pretty good job making it work with each chapter. It's a nice overview of drugs in America as a whole, going into the past as well as current politics. I learned quite a few new things from the book, and it's a nice read for anyone interested in the topic.
Dec 31, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Interesting study of the history of drug/alcohol use in America with a strong legalization bias... which becomes painfully evident when the author begins writing about his various acid trips & pot buys. It's hard to take him seriously at that point.

I did give up on the book - but only the last couple of chapters.
Christian Ternus
Nov 11, 2010 Christian Ternus rated it really liked it
Shelves: policy
The best books force you to re-examine your preconceptions, and Grim's treatment of a controversial topic did that in spades. The best sections were the history of prohibition and legalization, and the reasons why certain drugs fell where they did (almost always for political or economic reasons).
Dec 11, 2009 Seth rated it liked it
A fun read. A little unfocused, tries to cover a lot of ground. One of the most illuminating parts of the book: when mainstream journalists defend the establishment media's treatment of Gary Webb and downplay the things he got right when he wrote about CIA-cocaine connections in the '90s.
Susie Burke
Dec 01, 2010 Susie Burke rated it really liked it
Very well written and engaging journey into the history of drugs and alcohol in America, taking into full account all of the anecdotal influences the subject has had along its way to its present state.
Jeff Raymond
Little in this book is new to those of us who are familiar with the failure of United States drug policy, but it was still an interesting read for the new stuff as well as seeing it all in one place.
Jul 09, 2009 Tyger rated it it was ok
That LSD is dead. With the death of the Dead and Phish tours the methods of distro are gone and the one guy that can really make it is in jail.

Pretty good book about drug abuse in the USA.
Sep 28, 2014 Sklape rated it really liked it
An interesting read and Grimm has a breezy style mixing his anecdotal stories with statistics about drug use and the war on drugs.
Apr 07, 2014 Jane rated it it was ok
Pretty dry and lots of statistics. I agree with the premise that the "war on drugs" is not the answer. I was hoping for something more about why human beings feel the need to alter their minds.
Dec 27, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it
A bit too overtly political for me, but full of fun facts. Some of which didn't quite hold up after a little research, though.
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