The Book of Smoke

Editor’s Note: This cross-posting is part of a series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection recently acquired by Harvard University’s Houghton Library. Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for producing the original post at Houghton’s Modern Books and Manuscripts blog. The opium dens prevalent in France and the United States duringContinue reading “The Book of Smoke”

The Long, Proud Tradition of the Fourth of July Buzzkill

Celebratory drinking has fueled Fourth of July festivity from its inception in the years following 1776, when double rum-rations for the troops, endless toasts at formal dinners, and makeshift booze-stalls at public gatherings became norms. And it was not long before high-minded patriots began to worry over the excesses of republican revelry. Before the FourthContinue reading “The Long, Proud Tradition of the Fourth of July Buzzkill”

David Simon on the War on Drugs and the NSA Revelations

Last week two prominent critics of the War on Drugs independently declared that their years spent witnessing the civil liberties abuses involved in enforcing drug policy left them largely unmoved by the exposure of the National Security Agency’s comprehensive, only secretly and ambiguously legal, telecom monitoring program. David Simon and John Stossel are the mostContinue reading “David Simon on the War on Drugs and the NSA Revelations”

The Points Interview — Eoin Cannon

Note: Points’ managing editor, Eoin Cannon, favors us, today, with an interview on his just-out, new book, The Saloon and the Mission: Addiction, Conversion, and the Politics of Redemption in American Culture  (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013). BTW, Big Congratulations, Eoin! Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand. Sorry, barkeep, but this book isContinue reading “The Points Interview — Eoin Cannon”

Complete Quarterly Journal of Inebriety (1876-1914) Now Available Online

Editor’s note: This is an exciting development for researchers in addiction history and a welcome contribution from Weiner and White. After more than a decade of persistent searching and meticulous collecting, a team led by historian William L. White and Hazelden Library Manager Barbara Weiner has acquired and digitized all 141 issues of the QuarterlyContinue reading “Complete Quarterly Journal of Inebriety (1876-1914) Now Available Online”

Historical Documents of Temperance, Post-Pat’s Day Guilt and Remorse Edition

Spending a quiet St. Patrick’s Day with my parents and, as many of us do at a certain age, shamelessly rifling their old personal documents, I came across this item of interest. It is my father’s Pioneer Pledge, his oath at the age of sixteen to “abstain for life,” albeit with some language about “reparations”Continue reading “Historical Documents of Temperance, Post-Pat’s Day Guilt and Remorse Edition”

Points of Continuity

As the new managing editor of Points, it’s high time I introduced myself. For my lateness, I could offer some familiar academic excuses, but I have one that’s better: thanks mainly to work done by Trysh Travis and others, the blog has been filled with excellent essays in the new year, led by the wonderfulContinue reading “Points of Continuity”

Dancehall Pastiche and the Piecing Together of the Coming of Crack Narrative

This is the music video for Shinehead’s “Gimme No Crack,” from his 1988 breakout reggae-rap fusion album Unity, as ripped from a VHS tape of an episode of Yo! MTV Raps. Over the years I’ve sometimes found myself humming this song when I’m thinking or reading about rock cocaine. The tune was embedded in myContinue reading “Dancehall Pastiche and the Piecing Together of the Coming of Crack Narrative”

The Democracy of Addicts, if not of Addiction

Recently I read a brief article by George E. Vaillant called “The Natural History of Narcotic Drug Addiction” in the 1970 volume of Seminars in Psychiatry. It was based on follow-up studies of patients admitted to the federal narcotic hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, between 1936 and 1952. I was curious about how or whether itContinue reading “The Democracy of Addicts, if not of Addiction”

Literary Circles of Recovery

Writers’ social groupings feature prominently in literary history, whether in intentional, tightly knit circles, or in more amorphous, but still influential, “scenes.” In some of the more famous sites, the social element has depended on heavy drinking or drug use, not only as a binding ritual, but also as a medium of the intellectual endeavor:Continue reading “Literary Circles of Recovery”

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