Dope Girls | Granta

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

Dope Girls

Marek Kohn

This is a discussion of the transformation of drug use (especially morphine and cocaine, which was once commonly available in any chemist’s shop) into a national menace. It revolves around the death of Billie Carleton, a West End musical actress, in 1918. Its cast of characters includes Brilliant Chang, a Chinese restaurant proprietor and Edgar Manning, a jazz drummer from Jamaica. They were eventually identified as the villains of the affair and invested with a highly charged sexual menace. Around them, in the streets off Shaftesbury Avenue, there swirled a raffish group of seedy and entitled hedonists. Britain was horrified and fascinated, 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

Marek Kohn

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.