Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier

Emily Brady. Grand Central, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-45550-676-7
In her nonfiction debut, journalist Brady delivers a rare look into the illicit marijuana industry of Northern California’s Humboldt County—a region famed for its controversial herb. Using interviews conduct in the months leading up to the 2010 vote on the Proposition 19 initiative to legalize marijuana in California, Brady examines how the debate over legalization could alter the lives of the “marijuana moonshiners” of the Humboldt hills, driving prices down and potentially turning the region into the “Napa Valley of Pot.” In alternating chapters, the book follows the lives of four local residents: a 70-year-old woman who has been growing weed in Humboldt since 1970 and hopes for legalization; a volunteer firefighter and sometime grower who is tiring of the clandestine lifestyle; a young woman raised in Humboldt who recounts the drug-related deaths and law enforcement operations that punctuated her childhood; and a cynical sheriff’s deputy who believes the war on marijuana was lost a long time ago. Prop 19 didn’t pass in 2010, a fact that diminishes the tension Brady has built here when that fact is revealed to these four subjects and briefly discussed at the book’s end. Despite an unwieldy structure and meandering storylines, Brady has constructed a moving portrait of a culture and a region at a crossroads. Agent: Larry Weissman, Larry Weissman Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 06/18/2013
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4555-0677-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4555-0675-0
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-922247-58-2
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-922070-60-9
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