A kaleidoscopic introduction to the devastation wrought by—and possible remedies for—the opioid crisis.

AMERICAN EPIDEMIC

REPORTING FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE OPIOID CRISIS

Diverse perspectives on an American tragedy.

“No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic,” the title of a U.S. Navy admiral’s essay on his son’s fatal overdose, suggests the tone of this eclectic collection of nonfiction about the opioid epidemic. The book focuses on the aftermath of the disaster set in motion in 1996 when Purdue Pharma released the painkiller OxyContin and misled doctors, patients, and regulators about its addictive potential, ultimately driving users to cheaper street heroin. But rather than rehash the sins of drug companies, McMillian (American History/Georgia State Univ.; Beatles vs. Stones, 2014, etc.) gathers essays, reporting, and book excerpts that show the effects of the crisis on users, families, doctors, and law enforcement. Tom Mashberg and Rebecca Davis O’Brien expose a heroin mill on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburban New Jersey, and Margaret Talbot chronicles her meeting with a paramedic who saw a heartbreaking scene at a West Virginia home: a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old following a 911 operator’s instructions for performing CPR on their overdosed parents. In some of the most provocative pieces, contributors or their sources disagree on the value of options like 12-step programs or the synthetic opioids methadone or Suboxone or give surprising answers to thorny moral questions. A skeptical Sarah Resnick visited Vancouver’s controversial Insite, the first legal supervised drug-injection site in North America and left convinced that such initiatives save lives. Other contributors include Christopher Caldwell, Julia Lurie, Beth Macy, Gabor Maté, Sam Quinones, Andrew Sullivan, Johan Hari, and Leslie Jamison, who provides a foreword. If Sullivan’s views are more conservative than most in the book, they are hardly more optimistic: “If Marx posited that religion is the opiate of the people, then we have reached a new, more clarifying moment in the history of the West: Opiates are now the religion of the people.”

A kaleidoscopic introduction to the devastation wrought by—and possible remedies for—the opioid crisis.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-519-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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