Cambridge University Press (CUP) has bought a book charting the history of the crack epidemic that swept through major cities in America in the 1980s and nineties.
Deborah Gershenowitz, senior commissioning editor in American and Latin American History and Politics, bought world print and digital rights to Crack: An American Epidemic, by David Farber direct from the author for an undisclosed sum.
The book captures the iron grip that crack cocaine had on largely African-American communities in urban centres across America. It views the epidemic and the political response to it in its historical context, explaining why crack use exploded in the mid-1980s and began to decline a decade later, and why powerful elites chose to punish users and distributors with such ferocity.
Gershenowitz said: “This is a tremendously exciting acquisition for Cambridge. Crack’s rampant circulation and abuse reveals several major pulse points in the history of neoliberal America, perhaps most surprisingly, the emergence of a new class of ruthless entrepreneurs who deployed a sophisticated, community-based sales force to create a remarkably innovative, lucrative, deviant, and criminal form of global enterprise.”
She added: “David Farber is an internationally renowned scholar and an accomplished author of important academic books that also appeal to a much wider audience.”
Farber is Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at the University of Kansas and specialises in politics, business and society, and capitalism in twentieth-century U.S. History.
The book will be published in the autumn of 2019.