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Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market | [Eric Schlosser]

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

In Reefer Madness, the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation investigates America's black market and its far-reaching influence on our society through three of its mainstays - pot, porn, and illegal immigrants.

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Publisher's Summary

In Reefer Madness, the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation investigates America's black market and its far-reaching influence on our society through three of its mainstays - pot, porn, and illegal immigrants.

The underground economy is vast; it comprises perhaps 10 percent - perhaps more - of America's overall economy, and it's on the rise. Eric Schlosser charts this growth, and finds its roots in the nexus of ingenuity, greed, idealism, and hypocrisy that is American culture. He reveals the fascinating workings of the shadow economy by focusing on marijuana, one of the nation's largest cash crops; pornography, whose greatest beneficiaries include Fortune 100 companies; and illegal migrant workers, whose lot often resembles that of medieval serfs.

All three industries show how the black market has burgeoned over the past three decades, as America's reckless faith in the free market has combined with a deep-seated Puritanism to create situations both preposterous and tragic. Through pot, porn, and migrants, Schlosser traces compelling parallels between underground and overground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new technology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, how big business learns - and profits - from the underground.

With intrepid reportage, rich history, and incisive argument, Schlosser illuminates the shadow economy and the culture that casts that shadow.

© 2003 Eric Schlosser; (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research." (Publishers Weekly)
"Schlosser's precise outrage is as compelling off as on the page." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (346 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Freeport, ME, USA 10-14-03
    David Freeport, ME, USA 10-14-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent book"

    A beautifully researched book. Don't miss this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Ibaraki-shi, N/A, Japan 08-21-03
    Thomas Ibaraki-shi, N/A, Japan 08-21-03
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    "Fascinating look at the underground"

    This is a very interesting book about the underground worlds of marijuana, illegal farm workers, and the pornography industry. You'll hear some firsthand examples of how our government has stuck its nose into places that are not its business, and also how the collusion of agribusiness, economic forces, and crony capitalism (yes, it happens in the USA too!), haven't always resulted in the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

    Author's narration is good, if not exceptional. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blue Astoria, NY, USA 11-11-03
    Blue Astoria, NY, USA 11-11-03
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    "U.S. gov vs. we the people"

    This book pissed me off... becasue it brought to light ways in which our government is working against its people. Schlosser shows multiple ways in which our laws and approaches to problems work to keep the poor and unfortunate right where they are. Law enforcement appears to be more of an industry than a tool to help us all live more peacefully.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 08-21-12
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2001
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    "Should Be Required Reading"

    Great book. Well researched and read. Tells us about about things and issues neither political party in the country wants you to know about. Tells is a lot about how free our country (and many others) really are plus how capitalism is ignored or exploited by our political system. It is a hard book to listen to because it tells us about things in a fair world, particularly one that claims to be Christian, these injustices should not stand.

    Should be required reading in High School because it teaches us about how the world really is versus how society would like us to think it does. It also tells us a lot about our media (right and left) that totallly ignores what their audiences want to ignore.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Maylene, AL, USA 08-23-09
    Shannon Maylene, AL, USA 08-23-09
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    "Interesting Perspective"

    This was an interesting read and provided some shocking information on the ridiculous "war on drugs". It could have offered more background on how the drug war came to its present state, but this was well worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Hilden United States 08-24-04
    T. Hilden United States 08-24-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reefer Madness"

    <b>Reefer Madness</b> and <b>Fast Food Nation </b> are both MUST READS. Eric Schlosser has a gift for delivering non fiction in a totally engaging way.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Izzy Thornhill, Ontario, Canada 10-07-03
    Izzy Thornhill, Ontario, Canada 10-07-03 Member Since 2000
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    "Three books in one"

    Entertaining as well as Eye opening. This book exposes three growing areas of concern in today's society, namely marijuanna, illegal employer / migrant worker relations, and pornography. It provides a fair historical depiction of both sides of the argument, as well as definite opinions on each subject. It appears that the narrator, in an attempt to remain unbiased, can be at times be a bit bland about the subject and at other times show sympathy where one might not expect it. A great listen, and very educational.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence New York, N.Y. , NY, USA 07-11-03
    Lawrence New York, N.Y. , NY, USA 07-11-03
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    "Lots of Facts"

    I found this book to be very factual in nature in that the author throws out fact after fact, seemingly in support of his implied position on the subject matter. At times he strings together facts but they sort of just hang there, leaving one saying and??However, the book is informative, entertaining and relevant. The section dealing with marijuana and its legalization seemed to be the author's most emphatic point and rightfully so.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary S. Arkell New Jersey 10-01-12
    Gary S. Arkell New Jersey 10-01-12 Member Since 2006

    Gary S. Arkell

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    "boring"
    What disappointed you about Reefer Madness?

    the narrator is very monotone and the topic is very misleading. I expected this book to be about the history of Drugs. All it is about some guy who complains that pot is illegal.


    What didn’t you like about Eric Schlosser’s performance?

    he actually helps make this book boring.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I have no sympathy for people who produce drugs.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen Pasadena, CA, United States 11-22-11
    Kristen Pasadena, CA, United States 11-22-11
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    "Fascinating and accurate"

    The reason I picked up this book was that a lot of my close friends are porn stars, and I was interested to see Schlosser's take on the industry, but the whole book was fascinating. The ultimate long, historical viewpoint that the book takes on the economy is what really struck me as profound. I was listening to it on my iPod as I rode the New York subways in October, and the combination of visiting the Occupy camps and thinking about the crappy economy and income inequality and "reading" this book (which was written before the collapse of '08, but warns of it) was a really... interesting experience, for lack of a better adjective. Like seeing several lines of thought and history converge.

    The reefer part reminded in precise terms why we urgently need to legalize this drug, something I agree very strongly with even though I'm not a user. Being involved in sustainable food, I was glad to see such a thorough and unflinching look at the abuses of farm laborers. Both are discussed realistically and compassionately.

    The porn section didn't disappoint either. I've met a lot of the people he interviews and I'd say he did them and the industry justice, which is to say he shows it for what it is. He doesn't get into any hysterical moralizing, respects the agency of the performers, and touches on the bad points in what I felt was an accurate matter, if a somewhat fleeting one. My only real complaint was that he seemed to be fooled to some extent by Bill Margold's act. The guy is a grade A asshole, which sadly doesn't come across here. He likes to paint himself as some sort of industry spokesperson when he's just another annoying small-time producer, and unfortunately Schlosser seems to believe him. But if you keep that in mind, the interview is still informative and interesting. So there's my insider's take, haha.

    All in all a fascinating read backed with real facts and figures, and I like it when the author is able to narrate his or her own work well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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