The inner world of drug trafficking from New York's Lower East Side to Asia's Golden Crescent, to the private world of Bolivian drug barons. Freemantle. author of the Charley Muffin series of spy novels, was banned from the Soviet Union after his publication of The KGB. With this knack for hitting raw nerves, he takes to the streets, showing the reader an almost unimaginable underworld. His description of Manhattan's Lower East Side, where an intruding stranger is as likely to have a refrigerator dropped on his head from a third-floor walk-up as to walk away intact, is Brueghelesque. Freemantle is strong in his depiction of this seedy underworld, and in his ability to get to the root of the story and name names. His weakness lies in some of his conclusions about and solutions to the drug problem. At one point, for instance, he suggests that the 40 percent drop in American SAT scores between 1967 and 1982 was a result of marijuana usage. Similarly, after describing the horrors of the drug culture, the best he can do is to suggest that Holland's experience with limited legalization of marijuana might hold some clues for our own policymakers. Freemantle controversially suggests that heroin can be controlled by doctors who could dispense it to addicts, thus staving off the black market as well as the medical problems caused to addicts by dirty needles in seedy alleyways. A mixed bag of valuable journalism and questionable conclusions.