The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs, Winner of the Choice Award for Excellence
This fascinating and engrossing account of early US efforts to control the illegal drug trade is also much more. Valentine deeply examines the practices of the CIA, carefully and skillfully making a connection between it and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). The book exposes the close relationship between organized crime and those in intelligence. From the Cold War to the 1960s, FBN director Harry Anslinger, in a desperate bid to outflank the FBI, entered into a "suicidal" relationship with the CIA. In 1962, the FBN began "its descent into knave spookery and internecine warfare." Valentine also smartly examines the CIA's role in using drugs as a weapon to turn foreign agents and supply funds to anti-communist organizations. His account of MKULTRA--the CIA experiment with LSD--is fascinating and nicely documented. Exploring the deep politics defined by Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, CH, Mar. '94), Valentine deftly plumbs the hidden roots of the early war on narcotics and proves that foreign policy considerations always trumped public health. The author also makes some fascinating connections between the triumvirate of the FBI, CIA, and FBN around the time of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Summing Up: Outstanding. All levels/libraries. --- D. R. Turner, Davis and Elkins College
Carlo Parcelli's review of Strength of the Wolf
"The amount of information Valentine crams into his text is formidable and often takes on the texture of the dense web of law enforcement, felonious behavior, and intrigue he’s illuminating. Some sets of passages reveal corruption so deep and pervasive that it's “thrilling”, to borrow Dirty Lenny’s term. Any one of dozens of cases Valentine touches on could have become one of Mark Lombardi’s elegant and complex graphs of corruption."
The Strength of the Wolf
The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs by Douglas Valentine The secret history of the government agency that uncovered Establishment ties to organized crime. Voted Outstanding Academic Title in 2004 by Choice. The Strength of the Wolf is the first complete history of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), which existed from 1930 until its wrenching termination in 1968. The most successful federal law enforcement agency ever, the FBN was populated by some of the most amazing characters in American history, many of whom the author interviewed for this book. Working as undercover agents and with mercenary informers around the globe, these freewheeling "case making" agents penetrated the Mafia and the French connection, breaking all the rules in the process, and uncovering the Establishment's ties to organized crime. Targeted by the FBI and the CIA, the case-makers were, ironically, victims of their own fabulous success in hunting down society's predators. An incredible, never-before-told story, The Strength of the Wolf provides a new, exciting, and revealing look at an important chapter in American history.
Counterpunch News Service Reviews Strength of the Wolf
"Corruption, addiction and murder on a large and small scale. This is the story that Douglas Valentine chronicles in his new book The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs (Verso, 2004). Valentine, who is also the author of the definitive story of the US counterintelligence program in Vietnam known as Operation Phoenix (The Phoenix Program), does a thorough job of detailing the crooked and sordid history of the original US agency created to fight the so-called war on drugs. That agency, for those who don’t know the history or have only known the Nixon-created Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), was the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Created for fundamentally racist reasons, the FBN was the brainchild of Harry Anslinger-an ambitious law-and-order type guy who devoted his life to protecting America’s upper classes. Anslinger built he agency based on white Americans fears and, in doing so, changed the society’s perspective on drugs from one where virtually everything was legally available to one where the government tried to control every aspect of drug distribution. It is Anslinger and his agency that is responsible for America’s current conception that drug abuse is a police problem and not one better left to health professionals."
The Strength of the Wolf (still available in soft and hardcover at Verso)
is being published as an ebook, on Amazon, circa October 2013