New Books Network

Benjamin Breen

The Age of Intoxication

Origins of the Global Drug Trade

University of Pennsylvania Press 2019

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in Drugs, Addiction and RecoveryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World Affairs December 26, 2019 Lucas Richert

In Benjamin Breen‘s The Age of Intoxication: Origins of the Global Drug Trade (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), we are transported back to a...

In Benjamin Breen‘s The Age of Intoxication: Origins of the Global Drug Trade (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), we are transported back to a time when there was no such thing as “recreational” and “medicinal” drugs. People ate Egyptian mummies. Tobacco apparently cured cancer. And the book has many more fascinating stories. Focusing in on the Portuguese colonies in Brazil and Angola and on the imperial capital of Lisbon, Breen deftly explores the process by which novel drugs were located, commodified, and consumed. And Breen demonstrates that drugs have been entwined with science and empire from the very beginning. Just like today.

Benjamin Breen is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Lucas Richert is an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He studies intoxicating substances and the pharmaceutical industry. He also examines the history of mental health.