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Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade [Kindle Edition]

Peter Maguire , Mike Ritter

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A remarkable story, rich in untold details about a vastly lucrative yet little known trade. -- Anne McClintock, University of Wisconsin-Madison An extraordinary work, at once a participatory anthropology, detached sociology, cultural history, remarkable example of oral history, series of smuggling stories, and many other things to boot. -- Anders Stephanson, Columbia University At once cutting-edge research and candid autobiography, this globe-straddling tale rolls from Southern California surf shops to the beaches of Baja, from Maui to seedy bars in Thailand and the jungles of Laos, and from communist extermination camps in Cambodia to DEA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Along the way, the authors introduce a cast of real-life characters stranger than fiction, who earned their place in the annals of American crime by chasing their own dreams across the high seas and back again, creating a billion-dollar black market industry in the process, sometimes at the cost of their freedom and sometimes at the cost of their lives. -- Craig Etcheson, war crimes investigator From the dank highlands of Siam to the sage-blown point breaks of Alta California, Thai Stick explores the relationship between surf culture and the 'funny business.' Maguire--grounded in law, history, and the surfing life--is exactly the right author for this street-level breakdown of smuggling in the 1970s. -- Scott Hulet, The Surfer's Journal Thai Stick is a brilliant story of the surfers and watermen who pioneered the trans-Pacific pot trade. Adventurous and often hilarious, the book's narrative blows open one of the last remaining secrets of the hippie era. It also exposes the dark side of the business and its occasionally tragic consequences. Thai Stick is at once an authoritative work of history and an intense, highly entertaining read. -- Nicholas Schou, author of The Weed Runners: Travels with the Outlaw Capitalists of America's Medical Marijuana Trade Thai Stick is a rare, heart-stopping story about California surfers, hippies and straight out druggies who smuggled potent marijuana from Thailand to the United States and changed the shape of the American drug culture. Based on interviews with the modern day pirates, Thai Stickcaptures the wild aura of the 1970s and 1980s dope trade and the U.S. War on Drugs that tried to stop it. -- Elizabeth Becker A rattling good yarn. -- Bradley Winterton Taipei Times


Located on the left bank of the Chao Phya River, Thailand's capital, Krungthep, known as Bangkok to Westerners and "the City of Angels" to Thais, has been home to smugglers and adventurers since the late eighteenth century. During the 1970s, it became a modern Casablanca to a new generation of treasure seekers, from surfers looking to finance their endless summers to wide-eyed hippie true believers and lethal marauders left over from the Vietnam War.

Moving a shipment of Thai sticks from northeast Thailand farms to American consumers meant navigating one of the most complex smuggling channels in the history of the drug trade. Many forget that until the mid-1970s, the vast majority of marijuana consumed in the United States was imported, and there was little to no domestic production.

Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter are the first historians to document this underground industry, the only record of its existence rooted in the fading memories of its elusive participants. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with smugglers and law enforcement agents, the authors recount the buy, delivery, voyage home, and product offload. They capture the eccentric personalities of the men and women who transformed the Thai marijuana trade from a GI cottage industry into a professionalized business moving the world's most lucrative commodities, unraveling a rare history from the smugglers' perspective.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1903 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 274 Seiten
  • Verlag: Columbia University Press (19. November 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00FO81YQM
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #376.264 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  38 Rezensionen
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Popular history done right 18. Dezember 2013
Von surfimp - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a great read and I wasn't able to put it down. I felt the author did an excellent job of combining voluminous research and interviews along with recollections of his own youthful dalliance with smuggling, thereby personalizing and investing the story with a sort of authenticity that many historians can't muster.

The "scammers" featured here are cast in a sympathetic but still honest and critical light. Although the author doesn't explicitly make the point, you can see a tragic arc in each of the stories: they got interested in illicit trade to help finance their surfing / hippie lifestyle, but ultimately each one of them was consumed by the trade and most set surfing aside to focus on making their scores and living the high life (literally and figuratively). This led to predictable consequences, but even though you can pretty much guess what's coming, the stories and ingenuity of the protagonists is truly fine entertainment. This is a great story told well.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Must Must Read 14. November 2013
Von TMBrown - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
In Thai Stick, Peter Maguire and co-author Mike Ritter manage to capture not just the wild-wild east of the early marijuana trade, but the story of an entire generation testing what it was to be an "outlaw" in all kinds of new ways. Some of us, perhaps ignorantly, tend to regard surfing as the preserve of laid-back "dudes" without a hell of a lot of ambition besides the next big wave, but Thai Stick explodes that notion, showing us hard-hard watermen with more than a little capitalistic ambition and a hell of a lot of balls. Great stories, great book.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen amazing 6. November 2013
Von honey20h - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Wow, amazing stories. The author gives you such detail into the lives of smugglers, how they lived and the money they made. Makes you want to become an old school surfer.great read,fun and extremely exciting
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Enjoyable read, well researched. 20. Mai 2014
Von Harold - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
I am not a writer, but I am an avid reader and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It appears to be well researched, and the author has gone to great lengths in his research and exposed himself to no little personal risk to bring us the characters and tales of adventure experienced during the era of thai stick smuggling.
I would love to read a follow-up book on the smugglers that brought us the less potent Central and South American weed that more of us would be familiar with if, like myself, one grew up in the 60's and 70's.
Great little book.
Get it. Read it. Reminisce.
4.0 von 5 Sternen This is a good historical perspective on West Coast smuggling 10. November 2014
Von House Mom - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a good historical perspective on West Coast smuggling. The mindset of the scammers as they started and as they made a lot of money was briefly touched upon, but I think more can be said about it. It was interesting reading that a lot of people coming of age in the 60s might be able to relate to. The children and grandchildren of these characters may have a harder time doing so. The times are less free. Law enforcement is so technological now that this kind of trade probably couldn't happen on the scale that it did. Those that took part in this story are getting old and passing away so there is a need to have their stories told before first hand accounts can no longer be found.
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