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Extended Audio Sample Reefer Madness: And Other Tales from the American Underground Audiobook, by Eric Schlosser Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.92 out of 53.92 out of 53.92 out of 53.92 out of 53.92 out of 5 3.92 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eric Schlosser Narrator: Eric Schlosser Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2003 ISBN: 9780743549608
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In Reefer Madness, the author of the New York Times bestsellers Command and Control and Fast Food Nation, investigates America’s black market and its far-reaching influence on our society through three of its mainstays—pot, porn, and illegal immigrants.

The underground economy is vast; it comprises perhaps ten percent—or more—of America’s overall economy, and it’s on the rise. Eric Schlosser charts this growth and finds its roots in the nexus of ingenuity, greed, idealism, and hypocrisy that is American culture. He reveals the fascinating workings of the shadow economy by focusing on marijuana, one of the nation’s largest cash crops; pornography, whose greatest beneficiaries include Fortune 100 companies; and illegal migrant workers, whose lot often resembles that of medieval serfs.

All three industries show how the black market has burgeoned over the past three decades, as America’s reckless faith in the free market has combined with a deep-seated puritanism to create situations both preposterous and tragic. Schlosser traces compelling parallels between underground and over ground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new technology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, how big business learns from—and profits from—the underground.

With intrepid reportage, rich history, and incisive argument, Schlosser illuminates the shadow economy and the culture that casts that shadow.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Schlosser isn’t attacking the pot industry here; he’s going after the institutional hypocrisies that force it underground while leaving far more damaging practices, like the abuse of migrant workers, to fester openly. What ties Reefer Madness together is Schlosser’s passionate belief that America is deeply neurotic, a nation divided against itself into a sunny, whitewashed mainstream and a lusty, angry, deeply denied subconscious. He just might be the shrink America needs.” 

    Lev Grossman, Time

  • “At its most compelling, Reefer Madness is a great, muckraking ride. There’s no hype in Schlosser’s prose. Instead, he lets a cascade of facts make his points.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Schlosser attacks this big theme with admirably thorough reporting and a refreshingly clear, no-nonsense writing style.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Schlosser hammers home his lessons by juxtaposing personal closeups of people caught in the system with a larger picture of the shadow economy. From small-time potheads crushed under the boot of federal mandatory sentencing guidelines, to the mostly nameless migrants who literally slave in the strawberry fields of California, to the scions of the secretive porn world, Schlosser’s words hit home because they are real stories of real people.” 

    Metro Times

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stellar | 5/24/2011

    " Fast food is evil and makes you fat. That's all. Stop eating it and go make yourself a damn sandwich instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maddie | 5/16/2011

    " Excellent. Fascinating exposé.
    I love KFC and I probably always will.
    The movie was terrible, don't watch it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 5/13/2011

    " Interesting to read, but unfortunately, it did not stop my liking for french fries and hamburgers. I do agree that it is sad what is happening to the American farmer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerri | 5/11/2011

    " as with food, inc...i love this kind of stuff. i appreciated the behind the scenes information about what our fast food world is really made up of and what it is doing to our world. a must read for young people and for those who are addicted to eating out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thenerdmom | 4/22/2011

    " I'll never eat fast food again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 4/21/2011

    " This should be on the syllabus of every high school. Great book.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi | 4/20/2011

    " Very interesting book about the history of the fast food movement in the U.S. Of particular interest to me was the role that farms play in this sector. There are many things I liked about this book, but at the same time, it is pretty terrifying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jo | 4/19/2011

    " I didn't eat at the golden arches for over a year after reading this.... but the evilness of the clown is diminished when you drop someone off at the airport at 5am and you think, mmmm pancakes and coffee..... mmmmmmmm "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi | 4/18/2011

    " This book made me NOT want to eat out... at least for a long time. "

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About the Author
Author Eric SchlosserERIC SCHLOSSER is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The Nation.