chasing the scream

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About the Book

What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? One of Johann Hari’s earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not be able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, unable to know what to do, he set out on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to discover what really causes addiction – and what really solves it.

His discoveries led him to give a TED talk and animation which have now been viewed more than 25 million times. He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories – of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their war on drugs – with extraordinary results.

This is the story of a life-changing journey that showed the world the opposite of addiction is connection.


Praise for “Chasing the Scream”

“Johann Hari’s book is the perfect antidote to the war on drugs, one of the most under-discussed moral injustices of our time. It combines rigorous research and deeply human story-telling. It will prompt an urgently-needed debate.”

– Glenn Greenwald, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“A terrific book.”

– Bill Maher

“Everyone should read this book.”

– Sam Harris

“An absolutely stunning book. It will blow people away.”

– Elton John

“Superb journalism and thrilling story-telling.”

– Naomi Klein, author of No Logo

“Wonderful… I couldn’t put it down.”

– Noam Chomsky

“An astounding book.”

– Amy Goodman, host of ‘Democracy Now’

“This book is, forgive the obvious phrase, screamingly addictive. The story it tells, jaw-droppingly horrific, hilarious and incredible, is one everyone should know: that it is all true boggles the mind, fascinates and infuriates in equal measure. Johann Hari, in brilliant prose, exposes one of the greatest and most harmful scandals of the past hundred years.”

– Stephen Fry

“This book is as intoxicatingly thrilling as crack, without destroying your teeth. It will change the drug debate forever.”

– Russell Brand

“Incredibly insightful and provocative.”

– B.J. Novak, writer of ‘The Office’

“Check out Johann Hari’s extraordinary new book Chasing the Scream, one of the best books I’ve ever read about the world of drugs”

– Touré, MSNBC

“Johann Hari has written a drug policy reform book like no other. Many have studied, or conducted, the science surrounding the manifold ills of drug prohibition. But Hari puts it all into riveting story form, and humanizes it… Part Gonzo journalism, part Louis CK standup, part Mark Twain storytelling, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs is beautifully wrought: lively, humorous, and poignant. And, it’s a compelling case for why the drug war must end, yesterday.”

– Norman Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police

“In this energetic and thought-proving book, Hari harnesses the power of the personal narrative to reveal the true causes and consequences of the War on Drugs.”

– David Nutt, former chief scientific advisor on drugs to the British government

“Breath-taking… A powerful contribution to an urgent debate”

– John Harris, The Guardian

“A testament to Hari’s skill as a writer”

– The New York Times


– The Financial Times

“A riveting book”

– The San Francisco Chronicle


– Piers Morgan

“This book is an entertainment, a great character study and page-turning storytelling all rolled into one very sophisticated and compelling cry for social justice.”

– Stephen Downing, formerly in charge of the Narcotics Division of the Los Angeles Police Department

“Amazing and bracing and smart. It’s really revolutionary.”

– Dan Savage

“Scary and terrific”

– John Safran

“Incredibly powerful”

– Caroline Lucas

“It’s incredibly entertaining. It’s enormously emotionally affecting… It really is an extraordinary book”

– Vanessa Feltz, BBC London


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