Straight Dope Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars The Drug Story, July 8, 2013
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Kindle Edition)
The author presented a raw discussion in his book “Straight Dope”. The facts which I learned were revealingly shocking and depressing. It was outrageous to read the interviews of the drug addicts, the counselors who are attempting to stop the addiction cycle of the addicts, the families of the addicts, the teachers dealing with drug abused children, and the discussion on the battle against tobacco companies, why should marijuana be legalized and how the administration is dealing with this issue.

This eight chapter book also revealed author’s experience with drugs, as his own life didn’t remain untouched with drugs from family members to his neighbors. He himself trying marijuana for the first time, experimenting with different types of drugs and finally breaking the shackles to escape the possible drug addiction.

The author LeRon Barton did a detailed research on the topic to present this amazing piece of work to us. I wonder how hard it would have been for the author to find and track people to confess about their experiences, who was all set out to find the answer to the question ” why are drugs so entrenched in American culture?”

I will give this provoking disclosure a five star rating!

Some of the stories will make you angry, June 27, 2013
By visibleinvisiblereader
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Kindle Edition)
The Straight Dope is an eye opening, disheartening, thought provoking book. This is no self-help manual or map to be used for modeling our lives. The author seems to have had a passion concerning addiction, and I think he will succeed in sparking conversations among addicts, recovering addicts, and anyone affected — which would likely be anyone.

The interviews shared in this book are of course raw, at times unexpected, and I find myself very connected to the brave individuals, who put their stories — their hearts — on the line, good and bad. Some of the stories will make you angry. Some of them will make you tilt your head. Some will touch and inspire you.

One story in particular, was that of Stephanie, a 41 year old, who was adopted. I am not sure what took place before Stephanie was placed with her family, whom she describes as close knit, but she seems to have had what many would call a “normal” childhood/upbringing. Her parents may not have been the perfect models for marriage, they may have placed unreal expectations upon Stephanie, but they were not using — they did not seem to be the reason Stephanie spiraled.

What struck me about this particular story, was what Stephanie described as “the trickledown effect”. Older friends of older siblings were using, and Stephanie grew to use drugs for enhancement, not out of need. It saddens to hear of influences like these, as I have children who I will one day have to, in a sense, release, and trust that what we have instilled will prevail.

Stories like Stephanie’s, coupled with poetry from the addict’s perspective, the author’s reflections on growing up observing “addicts on the corner,” make this a book an eye-opening read. It gives insight to those who may have never thought to empathize, or to those who would like to pique their curiosity concerning what is happening in the world with drugs. It reminds me of a documentary, where personal accounts shed light on something that is difficult to watch, but so very important to understand.

Although I enjoyed this book, this author’s unique vision, I would give it 3.8 stars. If you are a reader who expects a flawless read, free of slang, this may not be the book for you. Readers who deem books with minor blemishes and typos “unreadable”, beware, you will find some issues with editing. I was able to see past those issues, and think that the author has a promising future in creating thought provoking books.

4.0 out of 5 stars Yawatta Hosby’s review on “Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look Into American Drug Culture”, February 28, 2013
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Paperback)

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***
I enjoyed this 8 chapter book; it was a fast read. The author interviewed several people in hopes of finding out the answer to: “Why are drugs so entrenched in American way of life?” Most of the interviewees were from San Diego, California. When their real life experiences were revealed, it was written in first person as though they were talking directly to readers.
My favorite lines: 1) Be careful with your life, it’s short. 2) When people talk about drugs, two things come to mind: exaggeration and misinformation. 3) I am not going to rely on a supernatural entity to take responsibility for my life. It’s like saying Santa Claus is going to keep me clean.
I’m one of those easygoing readers who don’t mind typos or grammatical errors as long as the story is very interesting; however, the errors in this book got distracting after a while-it seemed like there were typos on every other page.
There were eight sections to the book: discussing drug dealers, users, people who died from their addiction, if marijuana should be legalized, criminals behind bars, teachers dealing with abused students (the most intriguing section for me), people in rehab who recovered from their addiction, and family members dealing with an addict.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.


4.0 out of 5 stars Highlights the Humanity of a Misunderstood Population, May 6, 2013
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Kindle Edition)

As a former counselor for people with substance problems, I have strong opinions about drug use and addiction and even stronger opinions about the U.S.’s unproductive discourse about drug use and addiction. I was skeptical when I received my review copy of Straight Dope. I was in for a happy surprise. The oral histories in this book capture the voices I remember: proud, remorseful, sometimes oddly casual – definitely human. It’s a quick read that packs a punch. LeRon Barton has done a great job in making his subjects comfortable enough to reveal themselves, and in arranging their stories to paint a clear picture of a complicated set of affairs.


4.0 out of 5 stars Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look into American Drug Culture, April 14, 2013
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Paperback)

Author Leron L. Barton takes a vivid look at American drug culture in this book that will leave you speed reading as you try to gather all the information it gives out into your head. It asks the hard questions like why are drugs so entrenched in American society and it gives real answers instead of the same old, same old that has been tossed around in the media and news reports. Straight Dope goes right to the source and interviews the drug addicts and the people whose lives revolve around getting high, the criminals who profit off their addiction and the drug counselors who try to rectify and fix the problem of abuse that tears apart families and communities. This book is a comprehensive look into the culture and even looks at the government and the role they play in so many aspects of the game including incarceration and laws that affect the entire culture. Check it out. A very interesting read. Seth Ferranti, author of Gorilla Convict: The Prison Writings of Seth Ferranti and Prison Stories,


4.0 out of 5 stars Real and Relevant, March 19, 2013
D.S. White (Whitehall, PA USA) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Kindle Edition)

“GARY: The thing is, rather you hardcore or bottom line guy, you have no choice. You have to carry a gun or have God’s angels looking over you, because somebody’s coming to get you. Matter of fact, guess who the best jackboys are? The police! I’ve been robbed by the police, the DEA, and the FBI! How they get you is when you carry a large amount of cash. They call it search and seizure. You can’t legally prove where you got the cash from. This has happened to me three times.”
LeRon’s writing style is a lot like mine, real, engaging, as though you’re talking to someone you know and that quote right there is something real. It’s true that he was writing interviews but as someone who interviews people all the time it is a hard task to give each person their own voice or I should say, make their voice come alive on paper or on the web. LeRon has managed to do that with each interview. I loved me some Gary! He reminds me a lot of my brother, tough and tender at the same time but a wily businessman. I felt like I was reading Donald Goines all over again.
How Carolyn saved the money to bail her husband out of jail was ingenious I would never have been that quick on my feet. I’ve gotta give James some props, everyone wouldn’t consider him a success story, however, he was set up to fail from his youth yet he’s still fighting.
Gary, Carolyn and James are just a small sample of the depth and breath of the diversity of the people interviewed and the depth of the stories told. Some shocking in their intensity, some triumphant in their endings-each interviewee telling his/her story in his/her own way with no fear of being judged…for this is and was his/her reality and he/she made the best or worst of it and lived to tell about it.
Any which way we look at it, discussion has been had about the good, the bad and the ugly of the American drug culture and I have learned some stuff. And I believe that is part of what this project was about. We are all teachable, no one knows everything. We can learn in the strangest of circumstances and as long as we are breathing there will be teachable moments. We need to stop sweeping real life issues under the carpet, bring them to the coffee table and discuss them. We might not be able to solve them today, but who knows about tomorrow? I would have given a 5 for the awesome project that this is, however, some more work needs to be done on the editing side.
My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
My Recommendation:
I invite you to grab yourself a copy of the book and join in on the conversation.
NOTE: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


4.0 out of 5 stars Tough Book but Necessary 15 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
All books about the drug culture are important but this author portrays a scarily realistic picture of the depravity of the drug scene. Although I live in England, heroin and class ‘A’ drugs are rife in our prisons. It’s books like this that make people open up their eyes. Great read.

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