The best books about opium 📚

Browse the best books on opium as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

By Lizzie Collingham

Why this book?

Collingham has written multiple books on food and the British Empire, and this one is my favorite. Stretching from 1545 to 1996, each of the twenty chapters selects a historical meal, dissecting its ingredients and manner of preparation in order to explore the imperial forces and experiences that created it. Painstakingly research, each chapter is a standalone history.

From the list:

The best books on food and empires in history

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Book cover of The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today

The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today

By Jennifer Michael Hecht

Why this book?

We live with so many toxic myths about happiness, and many of these myths come from books about happiness! The Happiness Myth steps up to defend happiness from all the nonsense. It’s a rollicking and often-hilarious tour through the history of human happiness, full of surprises and strange-but-true ideas to ponder. 

Historian and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht challenges our current certainties in this irreverent and well-researched exploration of what our ancestors (and we!) need to live happy lives. She’s a wonderful and witty person to spend time with, and she’ll help you become more intelligent about the true and everlasting…

From the list:

The best books to help you develop emotional badassery

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Book cover of The Prince of Eden

The Prince of Eden

By Marilyn Harris

Why this book?

The seven-book saga featuring the Eden family by Marilyn Harris is an amazing read, but I found The Prince of Eden to be the most moving. Not only is Edward Eden the most likable (though still questionable) of the men in the family, the book sheds light on an era of British history I wasn’t very familiar with, the 1830s-50s. I became a spectator of the social unrest, opium dens, and more within these pages. The fictional characters move alongside historical people and events, leaving their own footprints in the world of possibility within this emotional read.

From the list:

The best books for historical gothic family saga fans

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Book cover of The Moonstone

The Moonstone

By Wilkie Collins

Why this book?

Published in 1868, The Moonstone is a terrific story of stolen Indian jewels, fraud, murder, and true love that cracks along at a pace that belies its age. Rachel Verrinder should have inherited the Moonstone from her wicked uncle for her 18th birthday but the fabulous diamond is stolen. Rachel seems to fight any attempt to recover the diamond and, in the process, spurns Franklin Blake, who she loved. But why? If you’re wary of Victorian fiction, start here – you’ll love it!
From the list:

The best classic mysteries ever written

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Book cover of Drood

Drood

By Dan Simmons

Why this book?

First of all, Drood is a fantastic trip into the macabre. And, because I love to weave actual truths into my stories, either real-life experiences or real encounters, I am fascinated that Simmons based his novel on the last five years of Charles Dickens's life. Whether this is entirely speculation or otherwise, this novel draws on the character found in Dickens's last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Simmons does precisely what I hope to do with my stories; draw the reader into my world and leave them wondering what parts were based on unexpected truths. 

From the list:

The best books with plot twists

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Book cover of Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy

Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy

By James Tharin Bradford

Why this book?

Drug trafficking has become entwined with Afghanistan in the minds of many, though the true situation is often misunderstood. Bradford’s meticulous research not only clearly explains the present situation, it places it in the broader historical context that is almost always missing. The legal trade in opium has deep roots in Afghanistan, and even in the present day, there are as many senior government officials benefiting from it as there are insurgent leaders. He also explores the growing problem with addiction that plagues Afghanistan, humanizing a complex problem.

From the list:

The best books on the War in Afghanistan

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