Saturday, June 24, 2006

While this book was penned some time ago, it is not too late to write the odd review. It is one of the books I consulted in writing Hemp for Victory: History and Qualities of the World's Most Useful Plant, and a very well-researched piece it has proven to be. Jack Frazier is the author, an American historian who used excellent sources to give us this work in 1974. It was reprinted under the title The Great American Hemp Indsutry. In 140 or so pages, Frazier takes us back in history to see that there was hemp in North America before the settlers, making much reference to ancient cultures all over the world.
A chapter on hemp paper (sadly, this book was not printed on hemp paper, as at the time there was very little hemp printing paper available) is also a call for ecologically sound practices. Thirty-two years on, there is still little hemp paper made, although much more then there was in 1974.
Frazier is not only adept at sourcing notes from older sources, but makes a point of taking the news items of his day and using them to show what is going on in the world of big business vs. the environment. Had he been less honest in his work, it stands to reason he would have had a larger publisher take an interest in his tome. It ended up being published at Solar Age Press in West Virginia.
The subject of hemp farming is included in a 'discussion with a hemp farmer', who talks about hemp in the present, which is followed by a reprint of Edmund Quincy's 1765 work A Treatise of Hemp Husbandry.
The many sources used are given both in the endnotes and the bibliography, but, regrettably, there is no index. Nonetheless, this is a seminal book for the hemp library.

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