LAW & CRIME

Dopeworld: Adventures in the Global Drug Trade

St. Martin’s. Aug. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9781250270016. $29.99. CRIME
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Journalist Vorobyov (Russia Today) traveled the globe to explore the drug trade, raising intriguing questions along the way. “How come a gram of coke can land you in handcuffs, but you can buy beer and cigs at any corner shop? Why are so many kids dying, and why are our prisons filling up?” Vorobyov, who served two and a half years in prison for possession with intent to supply, bounces between personal stories and visits to a dozen countries. This fast-paced, in-your-face, sprawling book is bolstered by snippets of the history of Prohibition, the Sicilian Mafia, Mexican drug cartels, and American drug dealers. The author makes brief stops in the Philippines, Iran, Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Italy, and Los Angeles to interview mid-level or retired drug trade players. A highlight is his meeting with former drug lord “Freeway” Rick Ross, who explains how he profited from crack cocaine sales. Given the author’s background, there are few references to law enforcement or drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation. Readers seeking a more focused take will prefer Ben Westhoff’s Fentanyl, Inc., or Evan Ratliff’s The Mastermind.
VERDICT Equal parts criminal memoir, history lesson, and travelog, this will appeal to readers seeking an immersive and intimate look at the drug trade.

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