A half century into an expensive and completely unwinnable War on Drugs, Brown professor Peter Andreas has released Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs. From alcohol and tobacco to cocaine and methamphetamines, drugs have been a major part of wars dating back to ancient times, calming soldiers (or amping them up, in the case of Nazi Germany) while simultaneously wreaking havoc throughout the world. Weird trivia: cigarettes were considered standard food rations for soldiers through the end of the Vietnam War. Even caffeine, surely the most banal of mind-altering substances, doesn’t get off easily. Andreas argues that war and drugs are so intertwined that they can not be studied independently from one another.
This reading is presented by Symposium Books and Waterfire Arts Center.