THE AMERICAN HEROIN EMPIRE: Power, Profits, and Politics by

THE AMERICAN HEROIN EMPIRE: Power, Profits, and Politics

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dr. Kunnes charges that the heroin mess in this country is no chance medley. Like Alfred McCoy, whose forthcoming Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia pushed its way into the headlines recently, Kunnes unequivocally contends that it is ""ultimately a political and economic problem created by, and controlled for, wealthy criminals with police connections, political officials with corporate and criminal connections, and corporate officials controlling the priorities of our society."" All right, but who are the smackbrokers? Again, as in McCoy's book, the CIA, the China Lobby, and the Agency for International Development are 'fingered as either prime traffickers or abettors. Likewise an old target, the unlovable former Vice-President of South Vietnam, Marshall Ky. In his zest to hunt down the high-placed hustlers, Kunnes unwisely employs guilt-by-association tactics: because Animal Rescue League's James B. Ames sits on the board of Pacific Corporation, parent company of Air America (formerly Civil Air Transport), alleged to be a CIA front for transporting H, is it within the bounds of fairness to say ""It may seem too absurd to even imagine, but can a director of the Animal Rescue League or a director of the United Hospital Fund...be some of the biggest pushers in the world?""? Kunnes' sincerity or concern are not the issue; his methods are. Unlike Professor McCoy, he relies entirely on secondary sources -- the New York Post, the Knapp Commission, authors Michael Rossman and William Burroughs, underground army newspaper FTA, and Nat Hentoff -- and never introduces any material which might contradict his rendition. Unquestionably some of Kunnes' allegations are wellfounded, but which ones? This indiscriminate, plethoric survey of the U.S. heroin trade too much resembles a wild shooting gallery -- beware of overdose.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1972
Publisher: Dodd, Mead