In the vein of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief and Deborah Feldman's Unorthodox, journalist Emily Brady journeys into a secretive subculture--one that marijuana built.
Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier
Say the words "Humboldt County" to a stranger and you might receive a knowing grin. The name is infamous, and yet the place, and its inhabitants, have been nearly impenetrable. Until now.
Humboldt is a narrative exploration of an insular community in Northern California, which for nearly 40 years has existed primarily on the cultivation and sale of marijuana. It's a place where business is done with thick wads of cash and savings are buried in the backyard. In Humboldt County, marijuana supports everything from fire departments to schools, but it comes with a heavy price. As legalization looms, the community stands at a crossroads and its inhabitants are deeply divided on the issue--some want to claim their rightful heritage as master growers and have their livelihood legitimized, others want to continue reaping the inflated profits of the black market.
Emily Brady spent a year living with the highly secretive residents of Humboldt County, and her cast of eccentric, intimately drawn characters take us into a fascinating, alternate universe. It's the story of a small town that became dependent on a forbidden plant, and of how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream.
In her nonfiction debut, journalist Brady delivers a rare look into the illicit marijuana industry of Northern California s Humboldt County a region famed for its controversial herb. Using interviews conduct in the months leading up to the 2010 vote on the Proposition 19 initiative to legalize marijuana in California, Brady examines how the debate over legalization could alter the lives of the marijuana moonshiners of the Humboldt hills, driving prices down and potentially turning the region into the Napa Valley of Pot. In alternating chapters, the book follows the lives of four local residents: a 70-year-old woman who has been growing weed in Humboldt since 1970 and hopes for legalization; a volunteer firefighter and sometime grower who is tiring of the clandestine lifestyle; a young woman raised in Humboldt who recounts the drug-related deaths and law enforcement operations that punctuated her childhood; and a cynical sheriff s deputy who believes the war on marijuana was lost a long time ago. Prop 19 didn t pass in 2010, a fact that diminishes the tension Brady has built here when that fact is revealed to these four subjects and briefly discussed at the book s end. Despite an unwieldy structure and meandering storylines, Brady has constructed a moving portrait of a culture and a region at a crossroads.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great look into Humboldt culture and people, behind the marijuana culture.