The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth (Paperback)
Apple Best Books of 2021
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal * Shortlisted for the Zocalo Book Prize
From the New York Times bestselling author of Dreamland, a searing follow-up that explores the terrifying next stages of the opioid epidemic and the quiet yet ardent stories of community repair.
Sam Quinones traveled from Mexico to main streets across the U.S. to create Dreamland, a groundbreaking portrait of the opioid epidemic that awakened the nation. As the nation struggled to put back the pieces, Quinones was among the first to see the dangers that lay ahead: synthetic drugs and a new generation of kingpins whose product could be made in Magic Bullet blenders. In fentanyl, traffickers landed a painkiller a hundred times more powerful than morphine. They laced it into cocaine, meth, and counterfeit pills to cause tens of thousands of deaths-at the same time as Mexican traffickers made methamphetamine cheaper and more potent than ever, creating, Sam argues, swaths of mental illness and a surge in homelessness across the United States.
Quinones hit the road to investigate these new threats, discovering how addiction is exacerbated by consumer-product corporations. “In a time when drug traffickers act like corporations and corporations like traffickers,” he writes, “our best defense, perhaps our only defense, lies in bolstering community.” Amid a landscape of despair, Quinones found hope in those embracing the forgotten and ignored, illuminating the striking truth that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable.
Weaving analysis of the drug trade into stories of humble communities, The Least of Us delivers an unexpected and awe-inspiring response to the call that shocked the nation in Sam Quinones's award-winning Dreamland.
About the Author
Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of four acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, including New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic. "The most original writer on Mexico and the border" (San Francisco Chronicle), he lives with his family in Tennessee.
“This layered chronicle traces how methamphetamine and fentanyl became scourges of American life ... Quinones places the narrative in a range of illuminating contexts.” —The New Yorker
“Sam Quinones is perhaps our best big-picture analyst of America's markets for addictive drugs ... He is a fluent storyteller who delivers his argument through a palette of affecting stories ... Few readers will keep dry eyes through the entire book.” —The Washington Post
“American pain. This is the territory of Sam Quinones, a masterly reporter and vivid, lyrical writer.” —New York Times Book Review