Tell Me How It Ends Book Club: "Dreamland" by Sam Quinones
Tell Me How It Ends is our reading group for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice.
This month's book is Dreamland by Sam Quinones.
From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma, an explosive and shocking account of addiction and black tar heroin in the heartland of America.
In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.
With a great reporter's narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.
Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.
Quinones is a veteran journalist and expert storyteller long steeped in the demi-monde of Mexican-American bordercrossings. "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic" is an intricate jigsaw puzzle piecing together his findings from intensive investigation of the unprecedented spread of heroin addiction throughout the United States over the past two decades . . . "Dreamland" offers an eye-opening, enlightening and mesmerizing account of one of the most important stories of the last few decades . . . Quinones is a master storyteller, with a knack of bringing hundreds of characters to life . . . "Dreamland" stands as a model of meticulous investigative reporting providing important insights not only the current opiate epidemic but also into the sometimes negative symbiosis between our country and our neighbors to the south.
-New York Journal of Books
Sam Quinones is a journalist, author, and storyteller whose two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration-- True Tales From Another Mexico and Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream--have made him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, "the most original writer on Mexico and the border." He is also the co-author of Tell Your True Tale. Sam lives in Los Angeles.
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