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Book Review

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drug regulation, criminal law, sentencing, incarceration


Criminal Law | Law | Law Enforcement and Corrections


Notwithstanding the title, The War on Drugs: A History, this illuminating book is not "a" history of "the" War on Drugs but an edited collection with a sampling of new research into the intertwined histories of drug regulation and criminalization, deregulation and decriminalization, both in the United States and around the world. To use the parlance of Jotwell, I like this book a lot.

But I am also writing this Jot because I worry that the title may mislead legal scholars into thinking that this is only a book for historians of criminal law or scholars of the "carceral state." It certainly offers insights for those burgeoning subfields. But it contains a little something for everyone-well, everyone in the legal academy-whether they focus on the administrative state, on international law and foreign relations, or even on corporations. Indeed, one lesson reinforced by this book is that siloing the fields I just listed into separate scholarly communities, publications, and curriculums can hinder understanding of the various forms of relief and suffering, power and oppression, wealth and poverty produced by the drug trade and efforts to control that trade.



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