"A classic, as fine a history of America's experience with illegal drugs as we are likely to see and a delight to read. The author writes with such pace and excitement that you cannot wait to find out what's on the next page . . . put Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams in your permanent collection."—Joseph A. Califano Jr., AmericaOnce upon a time in America, morphine and cocaine were routinely sold in pharmacies, and "hop heads" gathered in shadowy basements to smoke opium. So begins Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams, Jill Jonnes's ground-breaking history of illegal drugs in America. Jonnes vividly traces our first turn-of-the-century drug epidemic, successfully quelled, and then follows the story into the postwar era: starting in the jazz world of the northern cities and moving through the "flower power" 1960s to the cocaine and crack explosion of the 1980s and 1990s."Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams tracks the colorful careers of movie stars and street junkies, drug traffickers and federal agents, to document journalist Jill Jonnes's chillingly plausible thesis: that drug abuse is as much a part of our national heritage as Mom, the flag, and apple pie . . . Jonnes's book is lively, anecdotal, and entertaining—until we stop to consider the reality of a substance abusing nation."—Francine Prose, Elle"A colorful, journalistic account, replete with biographical sketches, appealing—and informative—case histories, and descriptions of drug busts, murders, and political maneuvering . . . Above all, Jonnes has asked the right questions."—John C. Burnham, Journal of American History"There is no other book that affords so detailed and well documented a history of illegal drugs in the United States since 1885 . . . a richly detailed and textured history."—Dwight B. Heath, Addiction"Fascinating, well researched and finely honed . . . This is a must read."—Judge Peggy F. Hora, California Bench
"Jonnes is addicted to intriguing etymological and historical tidbits; "dope" comes from doop, Dutch for "sauce," an apt term for the sticky stuff prepared in opium dens. (Booth reports that the world "hip" has an opium-den association; "Its root lay in the fact that addicts gained sore hips from reclining on their sides on hard, opium den bed-boards.")"
Washington Post Book World, 09/05/1999
"This is a lively, well-researched book, strengthened by Jonnes' eye for detail and sense of illustrative anecdote."
Tim Warren, Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/18/1996