Whilst the 20th century was one long war for control of the world's oil supplies, opium was a key strategic raw material during the four preceding centuries. Opium consumption dates back to Ancient Egypt. Initially a useful pharmaceutical product called laudanum, it quickly became popular in Britain. It then became the basis for trade with isolationist China as soon as the Opium Wars obtained trading rights for Western companies and the Chinese began smoking it in industrial quantities. This book offers a tastefully illustrated history of this toxic substance, its paraphernalia and era.
Donald Wigal teaches history, art, theology, and music at the University of Dayton, Ohio, and at Mary Rogers College, New York. Fascinated by the documentation of former centuries, he was one of the notable contributors on the history of art to the Academic American Encyclopedia, and has also written a number of biographies about historical personalities.
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