“Five Books” is a website with an interesting premise: find someone who works on a given topic and ask him or her to name five books to read on that topic, and then discuss them.
When I was asked to name five books on drugs, I quickly agreed. But it turned out to be a harder assignment than it seems. Vigorous efforts to persuade Anna Blundy, who runs the site and does the interviewing, that five equals ten – for sufficiently large values of five – were unavailing.So I wound up leaving out more great books than I could include, and the final selections reflected considerations of topical balance as much as quality.
Here’s the list of five:
Philip J. Cook, Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control
David Boyum and Peter Reuter, An Analytic Assessment of US Drug Policy
Maia Szalavitz, Help at Any Cost
Gene Heyman, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice
Huston Smith, Cleansing the Doors of Perception
That meant leaving out:
Jonathan Caulkins, Susan Everingham, Peter Rydell, and James Chiesa, An Ounce of Prevention, A Pound of Uncertainty
David Courwright, Dark Paradise and Forces of Habit
John Kaplan, The Hardest Drug
Rob MacCoun and Peter Reuter, Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Times, Places and Vices
Don Perrine, The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs
Robin Room, Benedikt Fischer, Wayne Hall, Simon Lenton and Peter Reuter, Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate
Andrew Weil and Winifred Rosen, Chocolate to Morphine
And yes, all of this will be on the exam.