Cocaine is big business and getting bigger. Governments spend millions on a losing war against it, yet it’s still the drug of choice in the West.
In Cocaine Nation, Tom Feiling travels the trade routes from Colombia via Miami, Kingston, and Tijuana to London and New York. Cutting through the myths about the white trade, this is the story of cocaine as it’s never been told before.
Tom Feiling is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He spent a year working in South America where he made Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. He now lives in London where he is a director for ‘Justice for Colombia,’ which defends human rights in Colombia. Cocaine Nation is his first book.
Writer and journalist Tom Feiling, author of the acclaimed study of cocaine The Candy Machine, has journeyed throughout Colombia, down roads that were until recently too dangerous to travel, to paint a fresh picture of one of the world's most notorious and least-understood countries. He talks to former guerrilla fighters and their ex-captives; women whose sons were 'disappeared' by paramilitaries; the nomadic tribe who once thought they were the only people on earth and now charge $10 for a photo; the Japanese 'emerald cowboy' who made a fortune from mining; and revels in the stories that countless ordinary Colombians tell.
How did a land likened to paradise by the first conquistadores become a byword for hell on earth? Why is one of the world's most unequal nations also one of its happiest? How is it rebuilding itself after decades of violence, and how successful has the process been so far? Vital, shocking, often funny and never simplistic, Short Walks from Bogota unpicks the tangled fabric of Colombia, to create a stunning work of reportage, history and travel writing.
Amazon's Best History Book of the Year 2018
Time magazine’s Best Nonfiction Book of 2018
New York Public Library’s Best Book of 2018
NPR’s Book Concierge Best Book of 2018
Economist Book of the Year
“A profound impact on Hurston’s literary legacy.”—New York Times
“One of the greatest writers of our time.”—Toni Morrison
“Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.”—Alice Walker
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.