Dope Girls | Granta

  • Published: 01/11/2003
  • ISBN: 9781862076181
  • 129x20mm
  • 208 pages

Dope Girls

Marek Kohn

A drug panic. Murder. Terrifying and mysterious black and Chinese immigrants. Dope Kings. Jazz. War. An actress dead of an overdose. Dope Girls is about the transformation of drug use into a national menace. It revolves around the death in 1918, in the last furious stages of the First World War, of Billie Carleton, a West End-musical actress. Its cast of characters includes Brilliant Chang, a Chinese restaurant proprietor, and Edgar Manning, a jazz drummer from Jamaica. Around them, in the streets off Shaftesbury Avenue and in Chinatown, swirled a raffish group of seedy and rebellious hedonists. And so the drug problem was born amid a gush of exotic tabloid detail.

A fascinating look at cocaine and opium use in Britain after the First World War

Sarah Waters, Sunday Times

The best, most perceptive and most authoritative account of the British drug scene ever. This book is essential reading for doctors, legislators and law enforcers - indeed anyone who seeks to understand the impact that the illegal status of drugs has had on our society and culture

Will Self

The Author

Marek Kohn is the author of several books, including Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground, The Race Gallery and As We Know it. He lives in Brighton with his family.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

As We Know It

As We Know It is an account of how the human mind has evolved. It is a theory of mind: it tells us how our immediate ancestors might have thought and seen the world in the absence of language, gods or culture. Marek Kohn relates that ancient heritage to our humanity and examines the influence of our hominid past on our own behaviour, as creatures who speak, symbolize and create. Central to the book is a meditation on the handaxe, crafted again and again for hundreds of thousands of years by our proto-human ancestors. In his reconstruction of the uses and meaning of the handaxe, Kohn takes us into an alien world that is strangely close to our own. This is a work of sociobiology insofar as it applies Darwinism to human culture. Unlike almost all works of ‘evolutionary psychology’, however, it seeks to recapture Darwinism from the political right and to show that a better understanding of our evolutionary history need not lead to an imposing of limits on who we are and what we may become.