High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society
Carl Hart
Harper, 2013 ($26.99)

Hart, an associate professor at Columbia University, uses a mix of personal narrative and scientific research to argue for the decriminalization of drugs. When crack cocaine spread through his predominantly poor, black Miami neighborhood in the 1980s, Hart blamed the drug for increases in crime and gun violence. But later research by Hart and others showed that crack was not particularly addictive, nor did it make users more impulsive or violent, leading him to a revelation: although drugs can exacerbate social problems, they are rarely the cause. Hart's account of rising from the projects to the ivory tower is as poignant as his call to change the way society thinks about race, drugs and poverty.