Tragic Magic: The Life and Crimes of a Heroin Addict

Stuart L. Hills, Author Burnham, Inc. $21.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-8304-1317-1
Hills, a sociologist at St. Lawrence University, interviewed Santiago, a 42-year-old recovering heroin addict from New York City, and edited their sessions into an oral history. A black Cuban who grew up in the ghetto, Santiago reports honestly and graphically about the search for a fix, the subculture of the dope fiend, gang warfare, dealing dope and numerous other crimes. He describes the underworld of numbers games and his several encounters with an inefficient, corrupt justice system, but pk the book becomes more interesting when he details the brutal life in prison, where ``everybody handled you as if you were a thing.'' Santiago finally was encouraged by a prison librarian and also began a very improper romance with a nurse. A veteran of several `stab' violent metaphor un this context rehabilitation efforts, Santiago turned the corner only when a counselor offered him unconditional friendship and he learned to view recovery as a daily process. This tale is hardly new, however; some of the chronology is awkward, and the reader hopes in vain for other voices or insights. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Hardcover - 199 pages - 978-0-8304-1354-6
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