Located on the left bank of the Chao Phya River, Thailand's capital, Krungthep, known as Bangkok to Westerners and "the City of Angels" to Thais, has been home to smugglers and adventurers since the late eighteenth century. During the 1970s, it became a modern Casablanca to a new generation of treasure seekers, from surfers looking to finance their endless summers to wide-eyed hippie true believers and lethal marauders left over from the Vietnam War. Moving a shipment of Thai sticks from northeast Thailand farms to American consumers meant navigating one of the most complex smuggling channels in the history of the drug trade. Many forget that until the mid-1970s, the vast majority of marijuana consumed in the United States was imported, and there was little to no domestic production. Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter are the first historians to document this underground industry, the only record of its existence rooted in the fading memories of its elusive participants. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with smugglers and law enforcement agents, the authors recount the buy, delivery, voyage home, and product offload.
They capture the eccentric personalities of the men and women who transformed the Thai marijuana trade from a GI cottage industry into a professionalized business moving the world's most lucrative commodities, unraveling a rare history from the smugglers' perspective.
Peter Maguire is the author of Law and War and Facing Death in Cambodia. He is a historian and former war-crimes investigator whose writings have been published in the International Herald Tribune, New York Times, The Independent, Newsday, and Boston Globe. He has taught law and war theory at Columbia University and Bard College. Mike Ritter dropped out of the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1967 and set off on the Hippie Trail to Afghanistan and India, where he began smuggling hash and marijuana in 1968 and continued for eighteen years. He recently graduated from the University of Hawaii with an undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics. David Farber is as a professor in the Department of History at Temple University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is the author or coeditor of several books, including The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism and Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam.
Foreword by David Farber Introduction Maps 1. Surfers 2. The Hippie Trail 3. Kuta Beach 4. Thai Sticks 5. Pattaya Beach Ground Zero 6. The Great Circle Route and the Sea of Grass 7. The Gold Rush 8. Pirates and Perils 9. Multitons and Mother Ships 10. The DEA Gains Ground 11. Confidential Informant Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index