Ghosh has reinvented himself as a superlative commodity historian. In his new role, he has surpassed many seasoned historians in his ability to synthesise a wealth of research with remarkable intellectual clarity and suggestive simplicity . . . There's a quietly subversive element to Smoke and Ashes for which Ghosh deserves to be commended
The book gave me a deeper chill than any of the TV series about the opioid crisis I had viewed before reading it . . . The writing is sublime, the research thorough, the eye for story superb, and there are splashes of personal back story that underscore the sincerity of the author's arguments
A riveting new history of opium, a lucrative and destructive flower . . . Amitav Ghosh's sweeping, forcefully written Smoke and Ashes covers centuries in the life of the plant
Experimental . . . ambitious . . . a literary medley . . . traces the story of the opium trade from past to present.
A skilled storyteller, Ghosh triumphs in laying out the shame of the British empire's opium trade for all to see . . . [Smoke and Ashes is] a catalogue of colonial rapaciousness