Opium and its derivative opiates morphine and heroin have destroyed, corrupted and killed families, communities, and even whole nations. Yet, for the majority of its long history, opium has also been humanity's most efficacious method of assuaging physical and mental pain. Opium: Reality's Dark Dream encompasses the complete history of the world's most fascinating drug, from the first beginnings of flower cultivation by stone-age man to the contemporary opium trade in Afghanistan. Opium: Reality's Dark Dream tells the story with vim and insight, uncovering the strange power of opiates to inspire major conflicts and also to fuel the creation of great art and medical breakthroughs, to trigger the increase of worldwide criminal networks yet also revolutionize attitudes toward well-being.
Opium: Reality's Dark Dream traverses distance and time, crisscrossing the centuries, exploring opium's role in nineteenth century colonialism, the Chinese opium Wars, laudanum-inspired Romantic poetry, Sixties culture, and more. Throughout the book the author emphasizes opium's complicated, valuable relationship with developments in medication, health, and the treatment of sckness, emphasizing the enigmatic twin nature of the drug as both the cause and relief of extreme suffering in widely various civilizations.