[UCP Books]: Assassin of Youth

“A swirling, energetic, decidedly offbeat history of a man and a time history has largely forgotten, and not for any lack of effort of his own.”Kirkus Reviews


“A fresh take on an enduring controversy.”—Library Journal


A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger’s War on Drugs

Alexandra Chasin


Publication date: October 10, 2016 978-0-226-27697-7
International publication date: October 24, 2016 $35.00/£24.50


Everyone knows J. Edgar Hoover was a weird dude with a long and destructive public policy legacy. But few people have heard of Harry J. Anslinger, architect of our busted War on Drugs, who was arguably just as perverse and dangerous as Hoover. In Assassin of Youth, Alexandra Chasin brings us a kaleidoscopic portrait of the fractured man who set up America for one of its biggest public policy failures of the twentieth century, and beyond.


Make no mistake, this book is weird. As much creative nonfiction as straight history, Chasin brings readers a lyrical, digressive, funny, and ultimately riveting quasi-biography of Anslinger. Chasin’s treatment is a kaleidoscopic meditation—from the Pharmacopeia of 1820 to death of Sandra Bland in 2015, from the Pennsylvania Railroad to the last passenger pigeon, and with forays into gangster lives, CIA operatives, and popular detective stories. Assassin of Youth is as riotous and loose a history of drug laws as can be imagined—and it won’t disappoint.

Alexandra Chasin is associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College, the New School. She is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction.

Please contact Ashley Pierce at (773) 702-0279 or apierce@uchicago.edu for more information.


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