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Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction (2012)

von Steven Martin

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
755279,010 (3.92)9
An authority on opium paraphernalia traces the history of opium use while recounting his descent into addiction, describing how his experiments while researching an article led to a dangerous habit that prompted numerous rehabilitation efforts.
  1. 10
    The Art of Opium Antiques von Steven Martin (amyblue)
    amyblue: The Art of Opium Antiques is the book the author wrote before becoming addicted to opium; Opium Fiend is the book about both his collecting and his addiction. It's nice to have the former on hand when you're reading the latter, because he spends a fair amount describing the antiques, but you need the pictures to really visualize it.… (mehr)
  2. 00
    Bekenntnisse eines englischen Opiumessers von Thomas De Quincey (Cecrow)
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I love to read; I love to collect books. I know I have approximately 3,500 in my house, still I attend local book sales, and buy from online vendors. The draw back is space to store them. Thus, I see my habit as harmless.

Steve Martin also liked to collect objects. Traveling through Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam, Martin discovered that he liked to collect opium pipes, rare, very intricate items of beauty used in opium dens of China. Soon his habit of collection lead him to finding opium dens where he could simply try the pipes and deadly, highly addictive chemical used.

All too soon, he found he was horribly, tormentingly addicted. The book outlines what happened each time he tried to kick his deadly habit. Almost immediately, he developed profuse sweating, terrible bowel problems accompanied by severe stomach ache. Each time he tried to withdrawal, he could not handle the withdrawal and lined up his pipes and used one after another to take the hit that landed him in nirvana.

This is his story of his attempts to break the cycle. Haunting, scary and dark, I finished this book, but did not leave it with a good feeling.

I'll continue to purchase books as long as I have space. This is an obsession that will not cause death!

Three Stars ( )
  Whisper1 | Feb 20, 2020 |
Say what you will about smoking opium, this book was incredibly well-written. ( )
  lemontwist | Jan 1, 2018 |
Six-word review: Unsparing portrait of addict's compulsive behavior.

Extended review:

It began with collecting: simple collecting, a hobby, such as many kids have. Rocks. Shells. Coins. It ended with an all-consuming addiction to a long-banished drug whose power to enslave is multiplied by the unimaginable horrors of withdrawal. The journey led the author through a bizarre Southeast Asian underground of whose existence few are even aware and recorded the death of a renowned scholar whose secret drug dependency trapped her in the fatal ordeal of sudden deprivation.

Disturbing as it was, this cautionary tale of a man whose edgy hobby led to a life-threatening obsession was also fascinating and in fact difficult to put down. It was almost as if the vapors of heavenly poison were escaping the page, intoxicating and compelling, arousing a lust for vicarious experience even while sounding a warning in the strongest of terms.

Author Steven Martin documents the stages by which his hobby of collecting implements associated with opium use brought him to experiment with the fabled drug and ultimately become enslaved by it. His narrative includes a wealth of information about Asian collectibles and particularly about the sorts of rarities that became his focus. Some might consider the extensive descriptions of porcelain, carved pipes, lamps, and other devices excessive, but I found them all to be relevant. Likewise the stories of how he found his sources and what led him, step by step, to opium addiction all seem pertinent to me. I would not have edited out any of it.

Most moving of all is the account of what happened to Roxanna Brown, world-class expert on Asian ceramics. I found several online writeups of her death in a Seattle jail, but none of them told the story that Martin tells. For what it's worth, I believe him.

I read this book because I wanted to have an insider's view of the nightmare of compulsive using and the hell of withdrawal without ever placing myself in a position to experience it first hand. It's not for me to recommend this book, which will probably fall outside most people's range of interest in the subject matter; but for me it was deeply affecting, as someone who has loved more than one chemically dependent person and who never wants to go there herself.

Here is an article about the author as collector. It tells the story in brief.
http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/journey-into-the-opium-underworld/

(Kindle version) ( )
2 abstimmen Meredy | Aug 11, 2014 |
First you start by collecting baseball cards. You get older, join the Navy and stsart collecting Asian knicknacks, but you need something to set you apart from other Eastern knickknack collectors. Aha! Opium paraphenelia! Many people don't know what they . The author found incredibly rare pieces on Ebay because they were mislabelled.
Now you're in the rarefied world of other such likeminded enthusiasts, and before you know it, you're "kicking the old gong around." A very interesting story of the authors slow descent into opium addiction.
You can still get opium? Yes, but it's reaalllly hard to find. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
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Dedicated to the memory of my sister, Lynn Lee Martin (1967-2010)
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Halloween, that day of symbolic horrors, seemed an appropriate time to stop.
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An authority on opium paraphernalia traces the history of opium use while recounting his descent into addiction, describing how his experiments while researching an article led to a dangerous habit that prompted numerous rehabilitation efforts.

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