The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics
This book covers issues that have been written about often, but rarely as well and with as much insight, or in a single, concise and readable volume. He gives a thorough overview of the history with plenty of examples, and the research is deep and solid without being academically pedantic. The man somehow manages to cover just about everything related to anything about his subject, with a strong emphasis on the last two centuries and their societal aspects, in a lucid, tight prose style that'll have you reading for hours, learning a kilo, and enjoying every minute of it. I'm giving it to people for Christmas this year. And drugs? People that write books like this usually tip their hand pretty quick as to their own personal views on the controversies surrounding the stuff, but Davenport-Hines is pretty balanced without being detached so he can score tenure or something while not pissing off his dope-smoking buddies, either. All this combined makes for a book I'll take any day over two good hits of Fiorinol.