How Illicit Trade Made America
Reviews and Awards
"In Smuggler Nation, Peter Andreas recounts the well-worn story of American independence less as a lofty quest for freedom per se than as a struggle for freedom from onerous trade restrictions. He points out that many of the important freedoms protected by the Constitution, though they owed their intellectual pedigree to Locke and Montesquieu, had their origin in the travails of colonial smugglers trying to get molasses or gunpowder or Madeira past British customs agents." --Eric Felten, The Wall Street Journal
"Deftly explains how the battle lines of the American War of Independence were drawn largely because of people's varied and often self-serving relationships to smuggling...Smuggling is here to stay, and how we cope with this most American of practices will define our destiny in the years to come."--Cam Martin, The Daily Beast
"In this captivating new history, Brown University political science professor Andreas documents smuggling in America from the colonial 'golden age of illicit trade' through the Industrial Revolution and on into the current 'war on drugs'... Throughout the riveting text, Andreas also discusses the sociopolitical climates that gave rise to these storms of illicit commerce. Far from romanticizing or condoning illegal trade, Andreas convincingly argues that the flow of illicit goods has defined and shaped the nation, both in terms of who and what goes in and out, and how society reacts with regulatory policies. A valuable and entertaining read for historians and policymakers."--Publishers Weekly
"From filching British industrial secrets to bucking slave trade bans to 'Blood Cotton' to illicit smut to bootleggers, dope peddlers and human traffickers, Andreas' research is deep, wide and well-articulated, demonstrating how American traders have always undermined commercial restraints to supply a forbidden-fruit-happy populace.... Smuggler Nation is a terrific contribution to both American history and a more general outlay of our national character." --Providence Journal
"In this well-researched history, the author examines illegal commerce in the United States from its earliest days into the modern era...An illuminating look at the historical impact of America's illicit economy." --Kirkus Reviews
"In this terrific book, Peter Andreas shows that illicit trade is as American as apple pie."
--Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
"Smuggler Nation is a tour de force. Porous borders and the efforts to seal them are not new to the 21st century--Andreas convincingly shows they have defined the American experience."--James Goldgeier, Dean, School of International Service, American University
"Through his extensive historical research, Andreas shows us that illicit trade in America is not an aberration but has in fact shaped the modern economy in fundamental ways. An extraordinary re-narrating of familiar episodes that makes visible America's hidden connections with underworlds and parallel worlds."--Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights
"Americans have long projected national power through open, free, and legal markets. Andreas, one of the world's leading scholars of the dark side of globalization, presents us with a fascinating account of the role of illicit trade in the making of the American nation itself. This iconoclastic and timely book is an engaging and accessible primer for anyone seeking to understand the illicit dimensions of the global economy."
--Louis W. Pauly, Professor and Chair, Political Science, University of Toronto
"An extraordinary retelling of the American epic. Peter Andreas shows us how smuggling shaped politics, economics and culture from colonial times to the present day. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Smuggler Nation is an important contribution to the literature on American political development. Fascinating, powerful, persuasive, unexpected, lively, deep, and highly recommended."--James A. Morone, author of Hellfire Nation and coauthor of The Heart of Power