Book cover for Milk of Paradise

Milk of Paradise



16 May 2019
464 pages
Imprint: Picador


Lucy Inglis has done a wonderful job bringing together a wide range of sources to tell the history of the most exciting and dangerous plants in the world. Telling the story of opium tells us much about our faults and foibles as humans – our willingness to experiment; our ability to become addicts; our pursuit of money. This book tells us more than about opium; it tells us about ourselves.
Lucy Inglis’s fabulous book Milk of Paradise is the history of civilisation as shaped by opium . . . a triumph, epic in scale and full of humanity. Geopolitics was changed by the poppy: it influenced the development of navigation, exploration and world trade; hand-in-hand with war, it helped to create the wealthy economies, science, medicine, crime and human despair of the modern world. The poppy, she says, will always be one of the greatest global commodities for good and evil — and we will always be at war with it
As Lucy Inglis recounts in her sweeping new history of opium, the tension between the substance’s medicinal virtue and its dangers is ancient ... [She] untangles these contradictions with gusto ... a deeply researched and captivating book
Shows again and again how counter-productive prohibition is