High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.
Young Carl didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.
In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.
Combining memoir, popular science, and public policy, Hart's study lambasts current drug laws as draconian and repressive, arguing that they're based more on assumptions about race and class than on a real understanding of the physiological and societal effects of drugs. Growing up in a poor, predominantly African-American neighborhood in Miami in the 1970s and '80s, Hart, now a Columbia University neuroscientist, was rarely encouraged to excel academically, and he was too often witness to institutional racism and violence in his own community. Still, despite its deprivations, this background also gave Hart certain advantages later in life, such as a more empathetic relationship with the subjects of his studies on the effects of crack cocaine and other drugs and a more realistic view of what role such drugs actually play in society. Central to his work is the idea that addiction is actually a combination of physiological and social factors, and the use of drugs does not itself lead to violence and crime. Drug laws, he argues, place minorities into a "vicious cycle of incarceration and isolation," and the most rational policy choice would be decriminalization of all such substances. His is a provocative clarion call for students of sociology and policy-makers alike. Photos.
A must read
This book is for those willing to scratch the itch of discomfort they may feel with how our society functions for all people because your are being told the truth about the myths of fairness, justice, and opportunity this country was supposedly built upon. Dr. Hart's book is a must read for anyone willing to go to a so-called dangerous place, laugh, cry, learn, and become a better person.
This guy is the best at what he does!
This book has opened my eyes to so many silly stereotypes of our culture and perceptions of drug use or abuse in America. Carl takes some time to describe the actual effects of drug addiction and breaks down scientifically what the cause and effect is for us. The fact that he shares with us a lot of person details to explain a personal side to his research is profound! Thank you Carl for all you do and hope your books and publicity continues to broaden minds and turn backwards perceptions back around to their true position!
Solid and Scientific
A surprisingly readable scientific book, in this reviewer’s opinion. Dr. Carl Hart does an exemplary job of explaining drugs and their scientific properties, leaving us with explanations other than what we may think we know. Hart utilizes real life experience to explain drug society, and leaves the reader with an alternative to their personal previous wisdom.