Webs Of Smoke Review

802 words - 4 pages

Webs of Smoke Book Review

Meyer, Kathryn, and Terry Parssinen. Webs of Smoke: Smugglers, Warlords, Spies, and the History of the
International Drug Trade (state & Society East Asia). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002.

Kathryn Meyer and Terry Parssinen, both have B.A.’s and Ph. D’s and have taught history, collaborated on the book titled Webs Of Smoke; Smugglers, Warlords, Spies, and the History of the International Drug Trade which contains an “About the Authors” section on the last page. Meyer received her degrees from the University of Vermont and Temple University. She has taught East Asian history at Temple University- Japan, Ohio Weslyan University, Lafayette College, and ...view middle of the document...

The book is set up in a very interesting and easy-to-read manner. It contains multiple small side stories that pull the reader in, though many of these stories are not necessary to understand the overall message of the book which is…?. The names and places can be confusing at times, but the book has pictures of some of the people to help the reader put a name to a face and many maps throughout the book to help identify the places. It is nice to see a picture of the opium in its different states as shown in an excerpt between pages 124 and 125. The pictures show the opium plant, a tool used for retrieving the latex, the British East India processing plants, Shanghai opium dens, and examples of people smoking opium including a poverty-stricken opium smoker (WOS p. 124-125).
The first part of the book contains many dates and events that affected the opium trade, providing a timeline to introduce the reader to what was happening in the world at the time. This is a nice background for the reader, especially if they have not studied Asian History or the history of the opium trade. The opium war occurred 1840-1842 (WOS p. 6). In 1858, China legalized opium which originated the opium trade (WOS p. 10). In the 1880s, British missionaries began to fight the drug trade (WOS p. 20). China prohibited opium in 1905 though Japan refused the restrictions Britain was trying to place (WOS p. 20). The...

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