:::renaissance chambara:::

Posts on quality, life, culture, the media, news & tech with a twist & a slice of Limey. I moved my blog to http://renaissancehambara.jp in December 2006, go there for the latest content.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Oprah Time: The Strength of the Wolf


I needed a good paperback to read as I travelled back to Liverpool. It seemed strangely appropriate that I read a book about narcotics travelling back to my home city, given that Liverpool's recent history and cultural renaissance has been intertwined with its association as the UK's narcotic equivalent of the Square Mile. Characters like Curtis Warren as it's big swinging dicks as Liars Poker author Michael Lewis would have called them.

The premise of The Strength of the Wolf by Douglas Valentine is that the US and other foreign governments have had their fingers in the drug trafficking pie for hundreds of years.

Indeed Great Britain fought two wars over the opium trade. However, this is thought to be history.

The US as the 20th century empire 'ruler' is alleged to have carried on the practice supporting Chinese nationalists running heroin through the golden triangle, right-wing military figures in South America, friendly factions in the Middle East to smuggle opium to the French Connection and allowing the mafia a degree of freedom in return for using their supply.

Valentine also describes how drugs were used as a way of controlling minorities and how politically motivated drugs laws fanned demand in the US rather than choking it off.

These allegations are made as Valentine tells the story of the FBN (the federal bureau of narcotics), its successes, it's failures and its politics. How officers trod the line between doing their job, whilst not upsetting the establishment players who most benefited from the drug trade that they combated.

The book covers the inner real politik that tore the FBN apart and the global narcotics market as it evolved from the early 20th century.

Valentine eventually decides to pursue so many leads from Jack Ruby's involvement with drugs, the CIA and narcotics business associates link with the Kennedy assassination (which sounds only slightly more credible than the Warren Commission finding that Oswald did it on his own with an Italian carbine), DeGaulle's link with Corsican criminals to fund French intelligence work and Mossad's alleged involvement with money launderers and Lebanese narco power-brokers.

At times these allegations and avenues come out like a stream of consciousness and the thread of the plot leaps around like an epileptic break dancer. Whilst Valentine has obviously done a very thorough and comprehensive job in researching the book, it seems that he had too much material to work with in too little time.

The book becomes hard to follow because of the huge amount of information and cross-linkages that it tries to convey and not exactly ideal reading material for travelling.

I stuck with the book, not because of the drugs and intelligence drama, but the more human tale of how the agents careers were created and trashed like failed drafts being thrown in the paper basket. The book on balance, deserves the plaudits that have been heaped upon it, but who will recognise the achievements of the reader who pushes through to the end?

Labels: , , , ,


Create Social Bookmark Links


Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

03/2004   04/2004   05/2004   06/2004   07/2004   08/2004   09/2004   10/2004   11/2004   12/2004   01/2005   02/2005   03/2005   04/2005   05/2005   06/2005   07/2005   08/2005   09/2005   10/2005   11/2005   12/2005   01/2006   02/2006   03/2006   04/2006   05/2006   06/2006   07/2006   08/2006   09/2006   10/2006   11/2006   12/2006  


Welcome, thanks for visiting and a bit about this blog (:::renaissance chambara::: all in lower case just like UNIX)
Got something to bitch about? Trying to legal the author or want to send scary fan mail? Click here for more details
Want to leave a comment? Feel free, but please take account of the guidelines
The blogroll (there's some missing that Bloglines can't read, if you're not in sort your feeds out)
Subscribe via RSS to :::: renaissance chambara ::::
The grooves that drive :::: renaissance chambara :::: (see what's on our iTunes)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License.

Blogger rox nuffsaid.