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Books, Journals, New Media
April 16, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(15):1997-1998. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1997-a

David F. Musto, MD, is the editor of Drugs in America: A Documentary History. This volume is an ambitious attempt to provide, through a collection of primary sources, an overview of the US experience with drugs and drug control. Musto's volume promises a great deal and delivers most of it.

To begin with, the documents are well chosen. Given Musto's more than 30 years of experience writing and researching the history of drugs in America, this is hardly surprising. Seventy-six sections (most with either one or two documents) track the evolution of thought regarding alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and cannabis. The source materials cover drug consumption, medical and scientific research, and public policy. In this respect, Musto's volume achieves a somewhat greater breadth of subject coverage than any previous effort in the field.