A sweeping and highly readable work on the evolution of America’s domestic and global drug war
How can the United States chart a path forward in the war on drugs? In Drugs and Thugs, Russell Crandall uncovers the full history of this war that has lasted more than a century. As a scholar and a high-level national security advisor to both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, he provides an essential view of the economic, political, and human impacts of U.S. drug policies. Backed by extensive research, lucid and unbiased analysis of policy, and his own personal experiences, Crandall takes readers from Afghanistan to Colombia, to Peru and Mexico, to Miami International Airport and the border crossing between El Paso and Juarez to trace the complex social networks that make up the drug trade and drug consumption. Through historically driven stories, Crandall reveals how the war on drugs has evolved to address mass incarceration, the opioid epidemic, the legalization and medical use of marijuana, and America’s shifting foreign policy.
Russell Crandall is professor of American foreign policy and international politics at Davidson College and the author of seven books, including America’s Dirty Wars: Irregular Warfare from 1776 to the War on Terror.
“Densely and colorfully detailed as well as politically informed and astute. Crandall’s writing throughout is knowing and witty. His candid policy assessment is both forceful and nuanced.” —Jonathan Stevenson, Senior Fellow for US Defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies
“The national challenge of substance abuse disorder fueled by opioids has thrust the Drug War back into the newspapers and onto policymaking agendas. Drugs and Thugs distills the decades of experience and hard lessons learned into remarkably readable and endlessly informative fashion. This is required reading.”—Denis McDonough, former White House Chief of Staff, Notre Dame University
“Russell Crandall is one of our sharpest scholars of the U.S.-Latin America relationship. In this book, he tackles complex and controversial subjects, and his conclusions will be sure to provoke people on all sides of the debate. But this book is essential precisely because it challenges so many common conceptions about America's War on Drugs.”—Hal Brands, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
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