New York Times Bestseller: The shadowy world of “off the books” businesses—from marijuana to migrant workers—brought to life by the author of Fast Food Nation.
America’s black market is much larger than we realize, and it affects us all deeply, whether or not we smoke pot, rent a risqué video, or pay our kids’ nannies in cash. In Reefer Madness, the award-winning investigative journalist Eric Schlosser turns his exacting eye to the underbelly of American capitalism and its far-reaching influence on our society.
Exposing three American mainstays—pot, porn, and illegal immigrants—Schlosser shows how the black market has burgeoned over the past several decades. He also draws compelling parallels between underground and overground: 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, and how big business learns—and profits—from the underground.
“Captivating . . . Compelling tales of crime and punishment as well as an illuminating glimpse at the inner workings of the underground economy. The book revolves around two figures: Mark Young of Indiana, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his relatively minor role in a marijuana deal; and Reuben Sturman, an enigmatic Ohio man who built and controlled a formidable pornography distribution empire before finally being convicted of tax evasion. . . . Schlosser unravels an American society that has ‘become alienated and at odds with itself.’ Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research.” —Publishers Weekly