The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World
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The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Cocaine is big business and getting bigger. Governments spend
millions on a losing war against it, yet it's still the drug of choice
in the West. How did the cocaine economy become so massive?
Who keeps it running behind the scenes?



In Cocaine Nation, Tom Feiling travels the trade routes from Colombia via Miami, Kingston and Tijuana to London and New
york. he meets Medellin hit...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Penguin Books (first published July 20th 2010)
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Antti Salovaara
Feilingin kirja on heikohkosti kirjoitettu puheenvuoro tärkeästä aiheesta, eli maailmanlaajuisesti epäonnistuneesta, kurjuutta kylvävästä huumeiden vastaisesta sodasta. Esityksen keskiössä on kokaiini, joka monine eri muotoineen edustaa laajaa käyttäjäjoukkoa köyhistä crackin orjista kartanoissaan nuuskaavaan yläluokkaan ja mietoja, perinteisiä kokatuotteita nauttiviin eteläamerikkalaisiin.

Kirja antaa kohtuullisen katsauksen siihen, kuinka taistelu kokaiinia vastaan ruokkii rikolliskartelleja ja...more
Hugh Ashton
I wish the grading system here was a little more subtle. This is really a 75% rating. Anyway…

I have never lived in a society where cocaine use was as common or popular as claimed in this book - in fact, I had no idea that the price had dropped in the UK and the USA to the extent where it was as widespread as described here, or that the boom had come and gone, so much of this was completely new to me. The book was written in 2008, and much has changed since then, especially in relation to states...more
Barry
A well written history of the use of cocaine, of drugs policy, drug trafficking, and efforts to control it. Also makes a lucid, powerful, and evidence-based case for legalisation combined with a harm-reduction public health policy approach to cocaine, and all psycho-active drugs (the most popular of which is, of course, alcohol).
Xavier
The Candy Machine is a go to book on cocaine, written by Tom Feiling. The book gives a full account on farming, processing, shipping and consuming of cocaine and that too from the real people. The views and news from both sides: smugglers/consumers and law enforcers. The book suggests the possible solution for cocaine problem as legalization of the drug, and I think he is right. All these painful efforts to control and confiscate drugs, drug users and dealers would go away.

I recommend this book...more
Prakriti
Cocaine Nation is by far the most comprehensive book on the history, the business, the logistics, the public views, the legislation, and the first person voice of the users of drugs that I know of (not just Cocaine, about drugs in general). For a book that is 356 pages, that is an awful lot to be crammed between the covers.

Tom Feiling has done an excellent job with this book. It is not just opinions, but he has reached out to policy makers, drug tzars, ex smugglers, current addicts, and the sto...more
Catherine
The history of how cocaine went from being an accepted stimulant to a banned substance was pretty interesting. This book also called into questions some facts I thought I "knew", such as that cocaine is highly addictive. This book claims the drug is no more addictive than other substances such as nicotine and alcohol...I wonder how facual that is. I think it's a shame what the "War on Drugs" has done to the peasant farmers of South America. I watched it from the sidelines when I lived down there...more
Joseph
The book provides a rare glimpse into narco-economics. And why it almost happens in poorer nations like Jamaica, Columbia and Mexico. It argues that supply side intervention (spraying herbicide, imposing sanctions etc) is more politically driven than anything, why legalization (like what was done to alcohol and tobacco) could actually help and why it's important to differentiate recreational use from compulsive one. Above all, what does drug usage reveal about the user's psyche and what we can d...more
Julian De jesus


Terribly boring. This books reads more like a list of facts than any kind of explanation on the drug trade. It jumps around from something happening in the 1800s to something happening in the 1900s with no explanation in between. I couldn't make it past the first chapter as I was hoping there would be more structure to it but received none. I would recommend this book only to the avid drug enthusiast. Much of the information is centered on the UK as well, as the book was first published there....more
Lorenzio Phillibuster Fireworks
This had some really interesting points but it went on for far too long, not helped by the very well enunciated, but very monotone reader. The author does make some really good points about why the attempts to stall or stop the drugs trade have failed, and explores solutions other companies have come up with and it seems like he has done plenty of research into the origins and reasons why drugs are so popular and why people get involved in the cultivation, transport and distribution of drugs.
Johan
May 19, 2010 Johan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drugs
Nicely written by a well informed journalist who takes a stance against the war on drugs and promotes a legalisation of cocaine. Good insights into South American drug policy and how the US intervenes to fight the drug war. Recommended read if you are against legalisation to read up on the counter arguments for example. Left me quite uncertain on the issue, but nontheless convinced that the current strategies to combat drug use and trade are horribly inefficient.
Jillanne Johnson
It was interesting to learn more about the Cocaine trade but despite the vast numbers of citations, I still found myself questioning the credibility of the sources. A lot of research was done to construct this book, but it was definitely written in a way that supports the authors agenda. However to give Thomas Feiling credit, I don't know if we will ever have a full picture due to the taboo associated with this topic.
Thomas
This book is a polemic, which was a bit disappointing because the blurb and the introduction made it sound like an honest look at drug policy. It's even more disappointing in that I agree with the overall thesis of the book, but have issues with nearly every piece of evidence. There are a lot of logical fallacies or editorial statements made when presenting facts that are completely unnecessary.
Greg
Excellent overview of cocaine trafficking, economies, and global policy. Strong arguments and thorough research throughout, but the chapter on legalization relies oddly heavily on the testimony of middle- and upper-class recreational coke users in London. One suspects these are just the author's friends, but that's just purely a guess.
Liz
Really interesting read. Lots of colorful and pertinent sources. Certainly makes you think about drug policy around the world and how individual behavior has a global effect. Left a few questions unanswered, but overall comprehensive and controversial.

Will post my Newsweek review when live.
Suzi
This book was absolutely facsinating, very well written and easy to read. Got a few funny looks on the tube reading it but I found it very informative and easy to read. There's a good mix of opinion, interviews and facts/statistics and it just makes sense. Comes highly reccommended!
Brian Lutz
I already thought the war on drugs was a failure and should be abandoned, after reading this book it solidified that view and was one of the strongest cases I've seen on taking a different course. Really fascinating and debunks a lot of myths about cocaine. Very quick and easy read.
Tim
"Nation" is the world and "Cocaine" is a hell of a drug … Pretty okay book. Reads a bit like a very well researched term paper or Doctoral Thesis. Also a bit choppy and disjointed. But informative. Patience Please, A Drug Free America Comes First.
Pasi Rahko
Kiinnostava aihe, paljon asiaa ja mielenkiintoista tietoa kokaniinista, sen historiasta sekä muutenkin
huumeiden yhteiskunnallisista ja taloudellisista vaikutuksista eri maanosissa ja maissa. Mutta paikoin hieman sekavasti ja jäsentelemättömästi kirjoitettu kirja.
Laura
Captivating stuff. It's a comprehensive economic analysis and argument in favor of legalizing and regulating cocaine and all other drugs because it would cause less harm to society than "the war on drugs" has inflicted.
Aditya
Insightful book about Cocaine's journey from being a legal substance added even to coca cola to being the drug that has made ghosts out of millions! must read for anyone interested in the world of narcotics.
Caroline Hooper
Great review in the NY Times Book Review this past Sunday. Supposedly a study on why we should end the failed war on drugs, which is a position I advocate too.
Lisa Beth
Its insane how much control America has on the rest of the world, and is afraid of change! Its a very interesting chain.

I
Sue
Interesting analysis and history of cocaine use and cocaine trade. By inference, the author makes a convincing argument for legalization.
Antti
Interesting points and details, especially the last sections about the legalization of cocaine or other drugs is a real stir up of mind.
Ruth
A most compelling case for moving away from the approach favored by "the war on drugs".
Cynthia
Cocaine and how it and governments maintain the status quo in and of itself.
Jonathan Green
A little too heavy on reports and stats etc....but useful in some ways.
Elizabeth
As heard on "Midday".
Luke Terry
Drug eradication is a messy business
Enda Hackett
Great book and very well researched.
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