The Many Lives of Amphetamine
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
NY University Press
FROM THE EROWID REVIEW #
- Review by David Beyul, 2011 Dec 23
The stories and relationships in which Rasmussen seems to be most invested, and which he teases out in the greatest detail, concern the subtle (and not so subtle) ways that speed itself seemed to direct the evolution of culture in the United States--the culture of the American medical community, if nothing else. For a well crafted history and critique of the ongoing evolution of that "speed" with which we are plunging forward, and the chemicals that fuel and are fueled by it, we have Rasmussen to thank for his educational, entertaining, and ultimately troubling book.. . . (more)
BLURBS #"Rasmussen documents America's eighty year love affair with amphetamine and its various permutations. Monumental in scope and research, the book traces the history of this seductive drug's uses for a myriad of 'illnesses' when the true sickness may be inherent to our unique American society. Given our current extraordinary use of this drug, On Speed is an urgent and necessary read."
-- Lawrence Diller, M.D., author of Running on Ritalin
"I've been waiting for a book on amphetamines for years and On Speed delivers. Crammed full of eye-popping detail, it brings the history of this extraordinary group of drugs and their effect on American culture vividly to life."
-- David Healy, M.D., author of Let Them Eat Prozac
"A magnificent work: measured, thorough, strong on both the technical details and the larger socio-cultural and ethical issues surrounding the development, marketing, and distribution of these dangerous mood-altering drugs. Rasmussen has dug into the medical literature and available archives to find new information on every aspect of the process by which amphetamines were invented, patented, and twinned with various 'disorders.' Rasmussen's book is a must-read."
-- Robert A. Nye, Professor Emertus, Oregon State University
"On Speed deftly captures amphetamine's impact on medicine, culture, and society. Rasmussen lays bare the decades-long attempts to employ amphetamine to gain strategic advantage on the battlefield, wage war against depression and attention deficit disorder, fight weight gain, counteract boredom, and seek thrills in everyday life. Along this journey, we learn about the dysfunctional American policies that failed to adequately address the toll amphetamine took on countless lives. As the title promises, Rasmussen's account tracks the many manifestations of amphetamine from the 1930s to today in intricate and fascinating detail, from miracle drug to public enemy, a trajectory filled with lessons for the future."
-- John P. Swann, Historian, Food and Drug Administration