Milk of Paradise

Milk of Paradise A History of Opium

Paperback (16 May 2019) | English

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Synopsis

'Lucy Inglis has done a wonderful job bringing together a wide range of sources to tell the history of the most exciting and dangerous plants in the world. Telling the story of opium tells us much about our faults and foibles as humans - our willingness to experiment; our ability to become addicts; our pursuit of money. This book tells us more than about opium; it tells us about ourselves.' - Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

'The only thing that is good is poppies. They are gold.'

Poppy tears, opium, heroin, fentanyl: humankind has been in thrall to the 'Milk of Paradise' for millennia. The latex of papaver somniferum is a bringer of sleep, of pleasurable lethargy, of relief from pain - and hugely addictive. A commodity without rival, it is renewable, easy to extract, transport and refine, and subject to an insatiable global demand.

No other substance in the world is as simple to produce or as profitable. It is the basis of a gargantuan industry built upon a shady underworld, but ultimately it is a farm-gate material that lives many lives before it reaches the branded blister packet, the intravenous drip or the scorched and filthy spoon. Many of us will end our lives dependent on it.

In Milk of Paradise, acclaimed cultural historian Lucy Inglis takes readers on an epic journey from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America and Afghanistan, from Sanskrit to pop, from poppy tears to smack, from morphine to today's synthetic opiates. It is a tale of addiction, trade, crime, sex, war, literature, medicine and, above all, money. And, as this ambitious, wide-ranging and compelling account vividly shows, the history of opium is our history and it speaks to us of who we are.

About the Publisher

Picador

Picador

Picador publishes outstanding international writing, fiction and non-fiction, in both hardback and paperback, and has numerous prize winners on its list. Picador has established a reputation for literary fiction with a broad commercial appeal, groundbreaking non-fiction, (particularly, reportage, literary biography and memoir) and a formidable poetry list, which has consistently won many of the major prizes.

Book information

ISBN: 9781447286110
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Imprint: Picador
Pub date:
DEWEY: 362.29309
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: xxiv, 440 , 16 unnumbered of plates
Weight: 356g
Height: 120mm
Width: 52mm
Spine width: 76mm