New Books Network

Sarah Luna, “Love in the Drug War: Selling Sex and Finding Jesus on the Mexico-US Border” (U Texas Press, 2020)
Sex, drugs, religion, and love are potent combinations in la zona, a regulated prostitution zone in the city of Reynosa, across the border from Hidalgo, Texas. During the years 2008 and 2009, a time of intense drug violence, Sarah Luna met and built relationships with two kinds of migrants, women who... Read More
Jennifer J. Carroll, “Narkomania: Drugs, HIV, and Citizenship in Ukraine” (Cornell UP, 2019)
Against the backdrop of a post-Soviet state set aflame by geopolitical conflict and violent revolution, Narkomania: Drugs, HIV, and Citizenship in Ukraine (Cornell UP, 2019) considers whether substance use disorders are everywhere the same and whether our responses to drug use presuppose what kind of people those who use drugs... Read More
Carly Israel, “Seconds and Inches” (Jaded Ibis Press, 2020)
Today I interview Carly Israel about her bold new memoir, Seconds and Inches (Jaded Ibis Press). In the opening sentence of her introduction, Israel writes, “My last name, Israel, means one who wrestles with God. And wrestling is all I know.” And that description gives us a sense of Israel’s... Read More
Linville Meadows, “A Spiritual Pathway to Recovery from Addiction: A Physician’s Journey of Discovery” (The Meadows Farm, 2020)
Addiction occurs among physicians at the same rate as in the general population, about 10%. Unlike the general population, however, an intensive rehabilitation program, geared specifically for their profession, vastly improves their chances of finding long-term sobriety. Over 70% of these physicians will be clean and sober-and practicing medicine-five years... Read More
Joseph E. Davis, “Chemically Imbalanced: Everyday Suffering, Medication, and Our Troubled Quest for Self-Mastery” (U Chicago Press, 2020)
Everyday suffering—those conditions or feelings brought on by trying circumstances that arise in everyone’s lives—is something that humans have grappled with for millennia. But the last decades have seen a drastic change in the way we approach it. In the past, a person going through a time of difficulty might... Read More
Danielle Giffort, “Acid Revival: The Psychedelic Renaissance and the Quest for Medical Legitimacy” (U Minnesota Press, 2020)
Psychedelic drugs are making a comeback. In the mid-twentieth century, scientists actively studied the potential of drugs like LSD and psilocybin for treating mental health problems. After a decades-long hiatus, researchers are once again testing how effective these drugs are in relieving symptoms for a wide variety of psychiatric conditions,... Read More
Lesly-Marie Buer, “RX Appalachia: Stories of Treatment and Survival in Rural Kentucky” (Haymarket, 2020)
Using the narratives of women who use(d) drugs, this account challenges popular understandings of Appalachia spread by such pundits as JD Vance by documenting how women, families, and communities cope with generational systems of oppression. Prescription opioids are associated with rising rates of overdose deaths and hepatitis C and HIV... Read More
He Bian, “Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China” (Princeton UP, 2020)
He Bian’s new book Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2020) is a beautiful cultural history of pharmacy in early modern China. This trans-dynastic book looks at how Chinese approaches to knowledge changed during the Ming and Qing as state-commissioned pharmacopeias dwindled, amateur investigations... Read More
Thomas John Lappas, “In League Against King Alcohol” (U Oklahoma Press, 2020)
Many Americans are familiar with the real, but repeatedly stereotyped problem of alcohol abuse in Indian country. Most know about the Prohibition Era and reformers who promoted passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, among them the members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). But few people are aware of how... Read More
Casey Schwartz, “Attention: A Love Story” (Pantheon, 2020)
Combining expert storytelling with genuine self-scrutiny, Casey Schwartz details the decade she spend taking Adderall to help her pay attention (or so she thought) and then considers the role of attention in defining our lives as it has been understood by thinkers such as William James, David Foster Wallace, and... Read More