Synopses & Reviews
January, 2015 will mark a century of the war on drugs in the United States: one hundred years since the first arrests under the Harrison Act. Facing down this anniversary, Johann Hari was witnessing a close relative and an ex-boyfriend bottoming out on cocaine and heroin. But what was the big picture in the war on drugs? Why does it continue, when most people now think it has failed? The reporter set out on a two-year, 20,000-mile journey through the theater of this war — to find out how it began, how it has affected people around the world, and how we can move beyond it.
Chasing the Scream is fueled by dramatic personal stories of the people he meets along the way: A transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who wanted to know who killed her mother, and a mother in Mexico who spent years tracking her daughter's murderer across the desert. A child smuggled out of the Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust who helped unlock the scientific secrets of addiction. A doctor who pushed the decriminalization in Portugal of all drugs — from cannabis to crack. The title itself comes from a formative story of Harry Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, sent as a boy to the pharmacy for a neighbor screaming in withdrawal — an experience which led him to fear drugs without regard to context. Always we come back to the front lines in the U.S., where we instigated the war and exported it around the globe, but where change is also coming.
Powerful, propulsive, and persuasive, Chasing the Scream is the page-turning story of a century-long mistake, which shows us the way to a more humane future.
"A compassionate and humane argument to overturn draconian drug policies." Kirkus Reviews
"Hari has made a stimulating hybrid of a book: simultaneously a readable history of the war on drugs and a powerful case for radical reform." Publishers Weekly
"Superb journalism and thrilling story-telling." Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything
"Chasing the Scream vividly paints the war on drugs as the century-long bad LSD trip that it is; in doing so it sticks a big nail in its coffin." Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco
"Johann Hari's book is the perfect antidote to the war on drugs, one of the most under-discussed moral injustices of our time. It combines rigorous research and deeply human story-telling. It will prompt an urgently needed debate." Glenn Greenwald, author of No Place to Hide
For the first time, the startling full story of the disastrous war on drugs — propelled by moving human stories, revolutionary insight into addiction, and fearless international reporting.
The New York Times Bestseller
The Book Behind the Viral TED Talk
For the first time, the startling full story of the disastrous war on drugs--propelled by moving human stories, revolutionary insight into addiction, and fearless international reporting.
What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not be able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, unable to know what to do, he set out on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it.
He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories--of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their war on drugs--with extraordinary results.
His discoveries led him to give a TED talk and animation which have now been viewed more than 25 million times. This is the story of a life-changing journey that showed the world the opposite of addiction is connection.
The New York Times Bestseller
What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question--and to write the book that gave rise to his viral TED talk, viewed more than 62 million times, and inspired the feature film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and the documentary series The Fix.
One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not being able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, not knowing what to do, he set out and traveled over 30,000 miles over three years to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it.
He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories--of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their own war on drugs--with extraordinary results.
Chasing the Scream is the story of a life-changing journey that transformed the addiction debate internationally--and showed the world that the opposite of addiction is connection.
About the Author
Johann Hari was a columnist for the Independent in London for nine years and was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International UK. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, Slate, the New Republic, and the Nation, among others. He has also been awarded the Comment Award for Cultural Commentator of the Year by Editorial Intelligence, and has been named Journalist of the Year by Stonewall. Hari lives in London.