Lucy Inglis’s fabulous book Milk of Paradise is the history of civilization as shaped by opium ... Milk of Paradise coolly exposes some of today’s global business brands as yesterday’s drug lords ... in her restrained, lucid prose ... Milk of Paradise is a triumph, epic in scale and full of humanity.
Ms. Inglis untangles...contradictions with gusto, guiding readers from primitive Neolithic experiments with poppies to the modern 'war on drugs.' Her narrative is propelled by savagery and greed ... Sometimes Milk of Paradise reads like fiction. Occasionally the author overcrowds this narrative with incidental characters; in what is a panoramic survey, she is prone to the odd tendentious claim. Nonetheless, this is a deeply researched and captivating book. The final chapters, in which Ms. Inglis escapes the archives, are especially compelling. Her interviews provide rich insights into the modern heroin trade.
Ms. Inglis gives a darting, scurrying account ... All of this ground has been covered by innumerable previous authors. Ms. Inglis’s version is bustling and seldom stops to dig to any depth. There are interesting moments ... however, Milk of Paradise is lightweight and even imperceptive compared with, say, David Musto’s The American Disease (1973) ... Ms. Inglis spent four years writing her well-meaning book. It is disappointing that she did not spend equivalent time revising it under a good editor’s supervision. The book meanders ... The sources cited by Ms. Inglis also raise problems ... Milk of Paradise might help you win Trivial Pursuit, but it is too eccentric to be a sound guide to opiates.
The narrative offers breadth rather than depth, but Inglis builds interest by emphasizing the places where intersections among historical strands yielded unexpected results and new trajectories in our relationship with opium ... A compelling story and a strong introduction to an important topic.
...an intriguing world history ... This account does not slight complicated historical connections ... The discussion of the rise of present-day poppy production in Afghanistan is a model of lucidity ... This timely account will interest advocates and concerned citizens. Inglis's skillful command of style will please them all.
A sweeping, panoramic history of opium and its deep roots in a vast array of societies and cultures ... A well-crafted history of civilization seen through the prism of one of the most profitable agricultural products in human history.