Tuesday 27 September 2011

The Art of Suppression

10 October 2011 sees the publication of my new book The Art of Suppression: Pleasure, Panic and Prohibition since 1800. This is the baby I've been working on since finishing Velvet Glove, Iron Fist more than two years ago and I consider it to be my best work yet. I hope you'll agree.

The Art of Suppression: With thanks to the
ever-glorious Devil's Kitchen for the jacket design

The idea was to create a biography of The Prohibitionist and seek an explanation for why bans begin. I wanted to see how substances—which is to say 'drugs' in the modern sense of the word, including narcotics, alcohol and tobacco—go from being benign and acceptable to becoming demonised and illegal. How does this happen? More importantly, who makes it happen?

The result is a panoramic study of prohibitions around the world, from opium-smoking in China and the crusade against alcohol in the USA to the more recent European ban on snus and the ongoing war on designer drugs. This is a story of religious zealots, vested interests, political opportunists and social deviants. Above all, it is the story of moral panics. If there is a single characteristic that unites The Prohibitionist wherever and whenever he (or she) surfaces, it is the reliance on fear over hope.

Some of the subject matter has been covered before, notably America's 'Noble Experiment' with alcohol suppression and the War on Drugs, but I hope that I have found enough fresh material to hold the interest of those who are already familiar with these wretched tales of failure. Other stories, such as the ban on snus, the attempt to ban alcohol worldwide, and Britain's quixotic battle against the likes of mephedrone ('Meow Meow') are told for the first time in this book.

The chapters are divided as follows:

1. Bone dry forever: Alcohol suppression in the USA

2. Prohibition averted: The campaign for a dry world

3. Opium: The dawn of the War on Drugs

4. Snus: If you can, ban

5. Narcotic moonshine: Designer drugs and the media

6. The Art of Suppression

The breadth of the subject matter meant that the research was exhausting at times and I wondered if I would ever get it finished, but reading it now, The Art of Suppression is what I wanted it to be—a lively, amusing and (hopefully) thought-provoking collection of stories which highlight a subject that is more relevant than ever in these prohibitionist times. This is a true labour of love and I'm very proud of it. You can read the introduction here.

The RRP is £11.99 (UK) or $19.99 (US). If you would like to receive a copy before it is officially released (signed, if you like), I can offer the book to readers of this blog at the discounted rate of £9.99 or $17.99 each—and that includes free postage.

For readers in the UK:

UK and Europe (£)

For readers in the rest of the world:

Rest of the world (US$)

Because Utopia is only ever one ban away...


ftumch said...

First! A signed copy too please, looking forward to it, and very happy to show my support Chris.

timbone said...

You will get my order when 'cashflow says yes'. I used to read a lot, but my older age has made reading seem like wasting valuable time. Having said that however, I am in the 'Christopher Snowden Fan Club'. I will be seeking a signed copy soon, signed because one day that signature may be worth enough to give me a good funeral.

Anonymous said...

Does Norway count as Europe? Most Norwegians don't think so, but if the answer is yes I will order my copy post haste.


Jean said...

Done !

Mr Eugenides said...

Any prospect of an ebook version? I have TSLD cued up on my iPad ready to read as soon as I've finished, um, Mandelson's book.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Anon, Norway's in Europe for these purposes.

Mr E, an ebook should be out in the near future. I need to speak to Mr Kitchen about that.

Anonymous said...

Have ordered. Sounds fascinating. Can't wait. JB.

Anonymous said...

Yes and your payment page not only accepted Norway as part of Europe (oh dear my next door neighbour would be furious), but translated the page into Norsk. Veldig hyggelig. I am looking forward to reading the book.


jredheadgirl said...

Hi Chris! I just ordered one. I look forward to my signed copy arriving in the mail. Congrats on the completion of your latest book!

Suboptimal Planet said...

Now ordered :-)

Tobacco's not my drug of choice, but I do enjoy the occasional smoke.

Have been very impressed by your blog over the last few weeks, and look forward to the book.

Chief_Sceptic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chief_Sceptic said...

Anonymous said...

Yes and your payment page not only accepted Norway as part of Europe (oh dear my next door neighbour would be furious), but translated the page into Norsk. Veldig hyggelig. I am looking forward to reading the book.



UK ex-pat in Norway ? - ditto (Stavanger) - I'll wait for the Kindle edition ...

Frank Davis said...

I thought I'd better buy it before it got banned.

Tomrat said...

Ordered; expecting shiny signed copy please.

So is this a new venture between you and Mr. M? An alternative to Lulu would be good...

Michael J. McFadden said...

Tomrat, if I'm the "Mr. M" then nope, definitely not. :) I consider Chris's writing WAYYY beyond my own efforts. I have to fight with stuff while with him it seems to just flow.

(Heh, he's probably sitting there saying, "Flow eh? And this is what I get after sweating blood over the goddamn manuscript for 1,573 hours and 37 minutes? I'll 'Flow' him...")

Chris, this is definitely GREAT news! VERY much looking forward to it!


Tomrat said...


Sadly was referring to The Devil; apologies for the confusion.

Do really like the idea of a new dawn in personal book design, legal and printing/ebooking for libertarian ideals, bypassing mainstream systems of publishing.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely be buying this book, but not on-line, I don't have a Paypal account and I don't want to sign up for one.

In what shops will the book be stocked.



Curmudgeon said...

Ordered this late Wednesday evening, and received it this morning - excellent service!

Look forward to getting stuck into it, and will give it a plug on my blog.

Christopher Snowdon said...

You don't need a Paypal account to buy it via Paypal. Can't say which shops will stock it but they'll all be able to order it in for you. Same goes for libraries.

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy. Hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.


Forester said...

I saw this on a pub blog somewhere and come along to have a look. Interesting topic.

Jean said...

Is that the right place to post an appreciation?

Anyway, I got my signed copy the other day and finished the book this week-end.

Evidence is mounting that reading this book dramatically increases the chance of the reader learning a lot of surprising and relevant things about prohibition and ultimately forming his own judgement on these subjects.

The stories told about booze and drugs are strikingly similar.
As for the snus story, it is a smoking gun,a proof that at least part of the anti-tobacco movement is not about health but falls into the same logic as the other prohibition efforts.

All that is made perfectly clear.
The book is also a very good case for legalization.

Good idea to focus on the prohibitionnists themselves, that is, who they are, how they proceed and what may motivate them.

It's the kind of book you wait for for months and read in one day. Thanks for writing it. Please continue.

Laurie Macfarlane said...

Just bought one via your paypal link. Would love a signed copy if they are still available! Thanks very much,

Laurie Macfarlane

Christopher Snowdon said...


Delighted to hear you enjoyed it. To anyone else reading - please use this forum to give me your feedback.

Laurie - consider it done. It'll be out in the post tomorrow.

Thanks to all who have bought the book so far.


Eric Crampton said...

Finally got around to ordering my copy; will blog it on completion...

nisakiman said...

Chris, I would like to buy both this book and Velvet Glove, but one image in the sidebar takes me to (presumably) another part of this site, and the other takes me to Amazon. Is it not possible to get them both from you, or will I have to buy them separately?


I'm @hotmail.com if you want to email your answer.

Christopher Snowdon said...


You can order Velvet Glove from me at this link...


And you can order Art of Suppression from this blogpost right here.

Many thanks


nisakiman said...

Cheers Chris. When I went to the link you supplied, it came up with both books, so I ordered them both from there. Hope the Art of Suppression still comes signed - adds an extra frisson of interest, don'cha know! :¬))

Payment site didn't want to know my Greek Visa card, so had to use my wife's paypal account. Oh well. Never did understand why my card works for some sites and not for others. It's a funny old world... Perhaps it's because Poors has downgraded Greece's credit rating! :¬))Ha!

I'm looking forward to a good read!

Thanks again.


nisakiman said...

Chris, do you know when my order was sent? It's a month on now, and as yet there is no sign of it. I realise that to Greece will take longer than a local delivery (and there have been some local disruptions too), but a parcel from the UK usually takes two weeks max. As I mentioned before, I can be contacted @hotmail.com if you would prefer to use email.

Jack said...

Hi from Geneva/Switzerland.

Have jsut bought your promising book online. We do not belong to the so called EU and don't want to join this weird Club. Nevertheless, if my Paypal payment is not enough, please let me know and I'll send you more lolly:-)

Great job ! Looking forward to reading it.

J.-A. Widmer
Les Dissident(e)s de Geneve (DDG)

We are an associate member of the TICAP.


Anonymous said...

Your book is amazing Chris, full of astonishing facts,either for snus,alcohol or for the rest of the drugs

Despite the fact that I do agree with your drugs' proposal at the end of the book,many people will find it too radical nowdays.

We are also running an era of medicalisation...

Sarah Ayars said...

Any news yet on an ebook? I really want to read the book but am trying to avoid adding to the physical collection these days.

Do let us know!

Christopher Snowdon said...


E-mail me at chrissnowdon@yahoo.co.uk and I'll let you know when it's out.


Unknown said...

I know I'm a year behind everyone else, but I was always show to catch on (lol).
Are you still doing the signed copies?

Christopher Snowdon said...


Yes, go ahead.

Unknown said...

Excellent! I've done the necessary on PayPal