Summary Of Paul Gootenberg's Andean Cocaine

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Introduction Written and published in 2008 by Paul Gootenberg, History professor and Latin American studies at University of New York at Stony Brook, “Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global drug” retraces the pivotal stages of the illicit cocaine trafficking, starting from the boundless coca fields in Latin America to the chemistry laboratories in Europe up until the streets of U.S. cities. The aim of this book review is to provide the reader with a short but detailed insight of what is the main content of the book, by paying particular attention to its structure, objectivity and style.

Scope & Organisation Adopting a meticulous chronological approach, Gootenberg describes the infamous and complex untold history of cocaine, analysing and
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What is unique about Gootenberg’s book is that it represents one of the first and most accurate archival-based work on the influence of cocaine based on various academic sources as well as primary materials such as medical journals, drug agency reports and Amazonian land records. The objectivity of the story that is told could be found in the several different points of view the author provides to the reader: apart from his own personal opinion rarely noticeable when reading the book, Andean Cocaine is a story told not only by looking at a global perspective, but it is also focused on the local context on how cocaine has influenced the Andean region. Many parts of the book, in fact, make reference to how the coca plant was essentially used by indigenous tribes specifically for medicinal and ritualistic purposes before its marketisation in the Western…show more content…
His particular approach based on the chronological series of historic events clearly explains the process that transformed cocaine from being a medical commodity to an illicit drug. In “Andean cocaine”, nothing is left to chance, the author is able to clearly explain the causes and the consequences that connect all the events, countries and people in the infamous history of coke. What I found extremely captivating of the book was its relation to several study fields: from medicine to anthropology, or from history to geography, without forgetting to mention branches of politics and sociology, “Andean Cocaine” offers readers from different backgrounds an enriching reading. The book by Gootenberg represents an incredible useful source of knowledge not only for a novice reader who is looking for an introduction to the history of cocaine, but also for a specialist in the field who wants to have a more general overview on how different agents, countries and time periods are all connected to coke’s marketisation process. My opinion on the book in conclusion is genuinely positive. Despite being a reader who gets bored easily, “Andean Cocaine” has provided me with an interesting and broad worldview about a very specific part of Latin American culture. I particularly found fascinating how a simple plant cultivated by indigenous tribes
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