High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society
by Carl Hart
(Harper, 2013, 340 pages)
Author Dr. Hart is a psychology professor at Columbia University. In this memoir he shares with us how he overcame social and economic obstacles to become a scientist and a professor at a prestigious university. He grew up in a dangerous “ghetto” in Miami in the 1980’s. At a young age he was exposed to family violence, street crimes, drugs, poverty, and racism. Some of his friends and family turned to crack cocaine and gangs. Hart was fortunate enough to stay in school and had a good influence from a cousin who loved math.
After being “pushed” by a counselor to take the army entrance exam, Hart joined the army. He was stationed in Japan and England. This provided him a great opportunity to experience different cultures. He also started taking college courses at the army bases. After the army, Dr. Hart made another critical decision to leave his family and friends in Miami who were not supportive of his pursuit of a college degree. He worked at a restaurant and finished his degree in psychology in Atlanta. He went on to earn a PhD at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Hart focused his research in the field of addiction and drugs. He blended research findings with his personal and professional stories to show the complexities of the American drug culture. I really enjoyed the book since I have little knowledge on this subject. If you are looking for a good coverage with detailed research of addiction and drugs, this is not the book for you. The science part is oversimplified. I wish he had explained his results more. Overall, an uplifting, informative and educational read.