Book Review: Reefer Madness

Eric Schlosser’s first novel ‘Fast Food Nation’ shot to the top of the bestseller’s lists, despite its unlikely blend of economics, sociology and investigative journalism. The key to this feat was meticulous attention to detail and an eye for the human experience within the corporate machines he critiqued, something that has stood him in good stead for his second non-fiction work ‘Reefer Madness’.

Turning his attention away from fast food, Schlosser tackles the wider issues of American economic and criminal law, giving a voice to marginalized and vilified minorities, from the recreational weed smoker to the illegal immigrant. Despite grounding his work in scrupulous research and extended analysis, Schlosser’s style is easy to read and balanced; the three extended essays in this potentially academic book are always centred on individual stories, creating powerful narratives on which Shlosser hangs his arguments.

These enticing glimpses into the worlds of suburban drug manufacturers, exploited labourers and porn barons reveal the hypocrisy of American government, where a conviction for growing weed can bring a longer prison term than for murder. Shlosser’s obvious passion to redress the injustice

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