Crackhouse: Notes From The End Of The Line by Terry Williams [1993 TRADE PAPERBACK]

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Crackhouse - Notes From The End Of The Line by Terry Williams 


Vintage trade paperback, like new and unread.  Minor shelf wear to cover.

In his widely acclaimed The Cocaine Kids Terry Williams brought us inside a teenage drug ring. Now he turns his attention to the crackhouses that are proliferating throughout American cities. Here, those addicted to crack-cocaine co-opt abandoned apartments in rundown neighborhoods and live together as family, friend, and lovers, creating their own drug culture.

Ethnographer Terry Williams spent time over the past four years with members of one such crackhouse in New York City. We meet: 45-year-old Headache, former international salesman, now owner of the crackhouse; Joan, his girlfriend, who has been on her own since 14 when her parents died; 19-year-old Shayna, single mother of a six-year-old child; Tiger, a gentle 60-year-old ex-boxer, ex-bus driver;15-year-old T.Q.,who lives sometimes in the crackhouse, sometimes in the park; and the many others who pass through the apartment regularly or only for a moment.

How did the people in the crackhouse become disconnected from mainstream society? What are their hopes and dreams? What is their link to each other, to their families, and to crack? With gritty detail, Williams chronicles their obsessive rituals, recording the lingo, violence, crime, and sexual patterns that characterize this world. Most poignantly, we learn that any desire to escape crack is usually subsumed by the overwhelming chemical addiction.

Unloved, uncared-for, and lacking choices, these are the lost souls visible to most of us only as menacing apparitions on our streets.  Yet, as Terry Williams reminds us, unless we begin to recognize our human connection to these men and women, then in some incarnation the crackhouse will continue to flourish in American life, "through one political wind or another, through tolerance one year and intolerance the next, until we come to understand that our only real addiction is collective denial."   This vivid, frightening picture of life at the lower depths is a story only Terry Williams could tell.