• Reefer Madness

  • Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market
  • By: Eric Schlosser
  • Narrated by: Eric Schlosser
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-05-03
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (7 ratings)

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.
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Critic reviews

"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Qbook on 23-11-04

Not What It Could Have Been

This book does not live up to the standard Schlosser set in Fast Food Nation, which I read last year. Made up of three essays, one on Marijuana one on illegal immigrant labor, and one on the porn industry. The premise of the book is that Schlosser will describe the underground economy of which these three topics play a major role. But the essays actually tell nothing about economics and right away get into political topics on which Schlosser is not at all shy in stating is own preference. In each topic, Schlosser actually use one or two case studies, but the overall point of these case studies is not at all clear.

By far, the most interesting topic is the porn industry, if only because this topic is just not covered much. Rather than an economic study, it should be relabeled a history of the porn industry. Even here, though, the material is not really a complete history, but rather a couple cases that Schlosser has followed up on, and the central topic is the government's war against porn producers. Schlosser's own reading is also uninspiring, but I think that is really just a result of material that is neither academically rigorous nor exciting or relevant as investigative reporting (which is what Schlosser is really aiming at).

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Boulderite on 25-06-03

Great Investigative Journalism

Nearly all of us eat fast food, but it took Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation for us to learn what it means in American Society. Reefer Madness is similar, looking at ways in which our society has gotten far off track. I thought the black market was a problem for post-Soviet Russia. Through insightful investigative journalism, Schlosser shows the problem exists -- and thrives -- right here at home. His essays exposing the vast reach of the underground economy read like novels, with engaging characters, as he exposes some basic, ugly truths at the core of our society that have not received the attention they deserve. Schlosser holds a mirror that helps us see our culture more clearly, warts and all.

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32 of 35 people found this review helpful

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