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High Society

Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture

ISBN: 9780500297940 (PB - EN)

A global history of intoxication, exploring the international spectrum of drug use in cultures across the world, from prehistory to the present day. Every society is a high society. Every day, people drink coffee on European terraces, chew betel nut in Indonesian markets, take cocoa leaf on Andean mountainsides and smoke tobacco in every nation on earth. Mike Jay's global history of intoxication looks at the earliest archaeological evidence of drug use, the botanicals of the classical world, the mind-bending self-experiments of early scientists and today's 'war on drugs'. In High Society Jay paints vivid portraits of the roles that drugs play as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols and trade goods. He traces the understanding of intoxicants from prehistory to the present, and reveals how the international trade in substances such as tobacco, tea and opium shaped the modern world. First published to accompany the highly successful exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, London, and now featuring a new preface, this striking and lyrical book remains one of the most complete explorations of drug use in cultures across the world.

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