BACK COVER #For sheer government absurdity, America's war on drugs is hard to beat. After three decades of increasingly punitive policies, illicit drugs are more easily available, drug potencies are greater, and drug barons are richer than ever. The war on drugs costs Washington more than the Commerce, Interior, and State departments combined--and a strangled court system, exploding prisons, and wasted lives push the cost beyond measure. Even as the citizens of California and Arizona attempt to embrace more rational drug policies, the federal government fights on.
Dan Baum's acclaimed expose shows how the federal government's war on drugs evolved from a politically potent campaign ploy (courtesy of Richard Nixon) to today's multibillion-dollar boondoggle-a "war" that's run roughshod over constitutional rights and put one out of four young black men behind bars without so much as denting the demand for drugs.
BLURBS #"Devastating...A complex Story...Often dramatic and sometimes outrageous...It brings the actors up close to cheer and hiss (mainly hiss)...A valuable work of reporting."
-- New York Times
"For the inside story of why the drug war remains a dismal failure, there is no better source than Smoke and Mirrors."
-- Chicago Tribune