The bestselling author of "Fast Food Nation" turns his exacting eye on the underbelly of the American marketplace and its far-reaching influence on society, exposing three American mainstays--pot, porn, and illegal immigrants.The bestselling author of "Fast Food Nation" turns his exacting eye on the underbelly of the American marketplace and its far-reaching influence on society, exposing three American mainstays--pot, porn, and illegal immigrants.Read Less
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Here, you'll discover all about the darker side of our economy. Schlosser covers three large areas of the black market: marijuana (hence the title), illegal immigration, and pornography. It's very interesting to learn that we are, sometimes, unwittingly contributing to the growth of these industries. I never knew that each time I bought strawberries, for instance, that I might be supporting the exploitation of poor migrant farm workers. Not only that, but also the book shows a humane, compassionate side of the story. You will learn about the plight of these strawberry pickers. They are working jobs for pay unimaginable -- yet it is more than they would ever dream of making back in Mexico. Does that make it okay for us to use them and then forget about them? You'll become much more conscious of what you buy and don't buy after reading. The book also opened my eyes to the irony of marijuana -- why does our society punish the usage of marijuana more harshly than murder? Does that sound reasonable to you? Also, there would be huge profits to be gained if marijuana were sold legally -- and just tax it! Schlosser covers the effect of marijuana, it's history (which is very surprising, if you ask me), and how it's illegal status gave rise to a large illegal drug trade. It's very interesting to find out that once upon a time, the colonies required the citizens to grow hemp because of its versatility and usefulness. In fact, George Washington used to have a huuuge hemp farm. So where is our current War on Drugs going and are our tax dollars spent towards a fruitless endeavor? Read the book and find out! Last but not least, pornography. This section was longer than the other two combined, and for a good reason perhaps. Pornography has always been a topic concerning our basic right: freedom of expression. So how does the supreme court or any society determine when this expression crosses the line? How do we define obscenity? Again, this book opened my eyes to other societies around the world that legalized pornography and then made it widely available -- and guess what, at first its sales peaked and then people gradually lost interest in buying it. So does widespread porno degrade our society? Most likely not. Also, the book covered the lives of the people in the sex industry. Schlosser met with non-mainstream people who dreamt of making it big as a porn star. He also met the big shots who made porno become a part of our pop culture.
All in all, this is worth a read if you are interested in the economy we all dabble in but don't see in full form everyday. Read it if you wish to know where our money is being spent. Read it if you care about protecting our rights and becoming a better informed citizen. The book will not offer you bias such as, 'Sex is the devil!' or 'Marijuana will kill you', etc. Your education begins here.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-03-31 From the bestselling author of Fast Food Nation comes this captivating look at the underbelly of the American marketplace. In three sections, Schlosser, an Atlantic Monthly correspondent, examines the marijuana, migrant labor and pornography trades, offering compelling tales of crime and punishment as well as an illuminating glimpse at the inner workings of the underground economy. The book revolves around two figures: Mark Young of Indiana, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his relatively minor role in a marijuana deal; and Reuben Sturman, an enigmatic Ohio man who built and controlled a formidable pornography distribution empire before finally being convicted of tax evasion, after beating a string of obscenity charges. Through recounting Young's and Sturman's ordeals, and to a lesser extent, the lives of migrant strawberry pickers in California, Schlosser unravels an American society that has "become alienated and at odds with itself." Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research. But while Schlosser does put forth forceful and unique market-based arguments, he isn't the first to take aim at the nation's drug laws and the puritanical hypocrisy that seeks to jail pornographers while permitting indentured servitude in California's strawberry fields. Nevertheless, this is a solid-and timely-second effort from Schlosser. As world events force Americans to choose values worth fighting for, Schlosser reminds readers, "the price of freedom is often what freedom brings." (May 5) Forecast: Although this book may not score as high as Fast Food Nation did with readers, a 15-city author tour and ads in the New York Times and Mother Jones will help sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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