A hugely impressive book, well researched. It belongs to the top of the New York Times best-seller list.,October 31, 2012
The author’s objective with this book – as I understand it – is to promote attitudinal and legislative change with respect to the way society deals with drugs. This makes me ask two questions: A) Does the book live up to that expectation? Yes, I think it does. B) Is the book as convincing as it could be? Well, let’s see.
This is a hugely impressive book. It is well researched, well written and full of interesting historical, scientific, legislative, social, medical and other relevant information. There are lots of details about psychoactive substances (drugs), about the workings of our brain, about consequences, costs and political issues associated with today’s largely ineffective war against drugs. The author is brilliant in the way he presents these many topics and links them to the book’s objective. From this perspective I would give this book more than five stars if this were possible.
However – as I progressed towards the middle and through the second half of the book, I started to feel slightly uncomfortable. I felt overwhelmed by the information, I wondered about the relevance of all the information and I started to just glance at some sections of the book without reading every sentence. Reflecting on this situation now and returning to the second question above, I am inclined to say the book is not as convincing as it could be. It is thought-provoking, it is nevertheless a five star book, but I really would like to see added to a revised version of the book a powerful “Summary and Conclusion”. At present the book has a rather brief conclusion entitled “A Call to Action”. This is okay for people who made the effort to fully read and digest the previous 99% of the book. The most convincing core sections and paragraphs about why attitudinal and legislative changes are so important can be found at many places throughout the book. To pull them out and present them in a powerful twenty to thirty page “Summary and Conclusion” could, in my opinion, add an extra dimension to this book. Nevertheless, this is a brilliant book which I highly recommend.