This fascinating history of international drug trafficking in the first half of the 20th century follows the stories of American narcs and gangsters, Japanese spies, Chinese warlords, and soldiers of fortune whose lives revolved around opium. The drug trade centered on China, which was before 1949 the world's largest narcotic market. The authors tell the interlocking stories of the many extraordinary personalities-sinister and otherwise-involved in narcotics trafficking in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Drawing on a rich store of U.S., British, European, Japanese, and Chinese archives, this unique study will be invaluable for all readers interested in the drug trade and contemporary East Asian history.
Kathryn Meyer is assistant professor of history at Wright State University. Terry Parssinen is professor of history at the University of Tampa in Florida. He has appeared twice on NPR's Fresh Air.