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willemite

willemite

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Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Chasing the Dragon: Into the Heart of the Golden Triangle - Christopher R. Cox Rule 1 - absolutely nothing in Southeast Asia is free
Rule 2 - nothing is as it seems
Rule 3 - nothing ever goes as planned
Rule 4 - there are no coincidences

Cox is a journalist in search of an interview with the biggest heroine dealer in the world, Khun Sa, who rules a large swath of Shan State in northeast Burma, the core of the Golden Triangle of lore.

This is fascinating stuff, offering a you-are-there look at some of the most remote, unexplored territory on the planet. You will learn much here, including some not so nice genocidal activities, perpetrated against ethnic minorities in the area. That was news to me.

You will pick up a bit of Burmese history. One such item is about how the Kuomintang was sustained in northern Burma by the USA as a thorn in China's side. But they needed income, so became international drug producers and dealers, and after the war on China lost any appeal, the drug business remained. There is some history offered re the infamous Thai sex trade, about headhunters, and about Burmese campaign against the Karen ethnic minority.

There is a very colorful cast of characters here
Barry Flynn - professional adventurer and former tv actor
Bo Gritz - a guy who mounts expeditions to rescue long lost POWs and MIAs
USDA Catherine Palmer - aka Dragon Lady
Khun Sa - biggest heroin dealer in the world. Commander of a private army

The telling is part Heart of Darkness, part Woody Allen. And just what do you bring as a gift to a man who has gazillions of dollars and his own military? That section had a very Bananas feel to it.

Chasing the Dragon is a fun and informative read. It will make you laugh out loud, teach you things you never knew and make us all realize that we do not know as much about our planet as we might have thought.