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Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks, 1900-1975by Stephen J. Gertz
Synopses & Reviews
"Dope Menace boasts hundreds of full color images from the wicked subgenre of drug-exploitation narratives... The covers that made these authors books so easy to pick up are collected here for the first time, in all their seductive and transgressive glory."--Tucson Weekly
While we now enjoy this exploitative genre for its campy kitsch, gloriously bad writing, and outlandish misinformation, drug paperback books were once a transgressive medium with a perversely seductive quality.
Dope Menace collects together hundreds of fabulously lurid and collectible covers in color, from xenophobic turn-of-the century tomes about the opium trade to the beatnik glories of reefer smoking and William S. Burroughs’ Junkie to the spaced-out psychedelic ’60s. We mustn’t forget the gonzo paranoia brought on by Hunter S. Thompson in the ’70s, when anything was everything.
Author Stephen J. Gertz is a well-regarded authority on antiquarian books and contributor to Feral House’s Sin-A-Rama, an award-winning visual history of sleaze paperbacks from the sixties.
Annie Nocenti, longtime editor of High Times magazine, offers an informative foreword.
"Treasured today mainly for their kitsch value, circulation of pulp paperbacks in the 1950s and "60s reached more than 228 million, according to historian, writer and 'antiquarian bookseller' Gertz. Though drug-themed novels and addiction memoirs had been around since the turn of the century, they didn't catch on until the "50s when, ironically, U.S. drug use was at a low. That all changed with the advent of LSD, which gave pulp writers something really to write about in books like LSD Orgy, Acid Party and The Splintered Man (a spy thriller published while the CIA's LSD research was still classified). Content varied wildly, and more than a few books failed to live up to their lurid covers (examples of which grace almost every page), but a handful were important-the best-known being William Burroughs' Junkie. Other vital examples include Memoirs of a Beatnik, No Man Stands Alone, John Clennon Holmes's The Horn, and the work of writer and illustrator Alexander King. Readers will dig Gertz's enthusiasm and formidable knowledge; the stories behind key titles like The Polluters (in which the nation's water supply is spiked with LSD) are almost as enjoyable as the beautifully reproduced, full-color covers for titles like H is for Harlot, Narco Nympho, The Junk Pusher, and scores of others." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The lurid glories of twentieth-century pulp drug literature.
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