Andean Cocaine

The Making of a Global Drug

By Paul Gootenberg

464 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 illus., 4 figs., 12 tables, 2 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5905-6
    Published: December 2008
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8779-0
    Published: June 2009
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8380-3
    Published: June 2009

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Awards & distinctions

A 2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Illuminating a hidden and fascinating chapter in the history of globalization, Paul Gootenberg chronicles the rise of one of the most spectacular and now illegal Latin American exports: cocaine.

Gootenberg traces cocaine's history from its origins as a medical commodity in the nineteenth century to its repression during the early twentieth century and its dramatic reemergence as an illicit good after World War II. Connecting the story of the drug's transformations is a host of people, products, and processes: Sigmund Freud, Coca-Cola, and Pablo Escobar all make appearances, exemplifying the global influences that have shaped the history of cocaine. But Gootenberg decenters the familiar story to uncover the roles played by hitherto obscure but vital Andean actors as well--for example, the Peruvian pharmacist who developed the techniques for refining cocaine on an industrial scale and the creators of the original drug-smuggling networks that decades later would be taken over by Colombian traffickers.

Andean Cocaine proves indispensable to understanding one of the most vexing social dilemmas of the late twentieth-century Americas: the American cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and, in its wake, the seemingly endless U.S. drug war in the Andes.

About the Author

Paul Gootenberg is professor of history at Stony Brook University in New York and author or editor of four other books, including Between Silver and Guano: Commercial Policies and the State in Postindependence Peru.
For more information about Paul Gootenberg, visit the Author Page.


"An outstanding book, a superb example of first-rate scholarship written with energy, confidence, respect for facts, and excellent style. In addition it is a readable, fascinating, and important story. . . . It ranks among the very best contributions to several literatures and will be valued by those interested in globalization, development, and economic and business history, as well as anyone simply curious to understand the world."--American Historical Review

"An indispensable point of departure for serious students of [the history of the cocaine trade]."--The Latin American Review of Books

"A sterling contribution to the literature of cocaine, and should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand cocaine in context."--Drug War Chronicle

"Thorough, eminently readable, and fascinating. . . . This tour de force illustrates how a fresh, insightful focus on a single commodity can illuminate economic development, political and social concerns, shifting ideologies, and cultural change, both locally and globally. Highly recommended."--Choice

"A book of great insight and academic rigor . . . that unearths this forgotten history."--Caretas

"Puts the discussion into a global perspective. . . . Gootenberg thus joins a distinguished group of scholars. . . . Indispensable reading for graduate seminars on economic, cultural, and social history, and shall appeal not only to experts on Latin America but also to world historians and those interested in comparative history."--The Americas