Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £15.19

Buy Now for £15.19

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Again and again British politicians, commentators, and celebrities intone that "the war on drugs has failed". They then say this is an argument for abandoning all attempts to reduce drug use through the criminal law. Peter Hitchens shows that in Britain, there has been no serious war on drugs since 1971, when a Tory government adopted a Labour plan to implement the revolutionary Wootton report. This gave cannabis, the most widely used illegal substance, a special legal status as a supposedly "soft" drug (in fact, Hitchens argues, it is at least as dangerous as heroin and cocaine because of the threat it poses to mental health). It began a progressive reduction of penalties for possession and effectively disarmed the police. This process still continues behind a screen of falsely tough rhetoric from politicians.

Far from there being a war on drugs, there has been a covert surrender to drugs, concealed behind an official obeisance to international treaty obligations. For all intents and purposes, cannabis is legal in Britain, and other major drugs are not far behind. In The War We Never Fought, Hitchens uncovers the secret history of the government's true attitude and the increasing recruitment of the police and courts to covert decriminalization initiatives and contrasts it with the rhetoric. Whatever and whoever is to blame for the undoubted mess of Britain's drug policy, it is not prohibition or a war on drugs, for neither exists.

©2012 Peter Hitchens (P)2015 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The War We Never Fought

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    66
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Pompous and Ill-informed

A sneering pompous rant about the current state of ‘Protestant civilisation’. This book sounds like it was written in the 1930s; for example, the linking of rock n roll music with the rise of drug use. Many of the points regarding mental health and the impacts of individual drugs are strikingly ill-informed and appear to be the result only of condescending snobbery; references to the ‘uneducated’ are abound and it is insinuated that the homeless are no more than a work-shy bunch who lack discipline - ignoring the many complex reasons for homelessness. At every turn I was left jaw-dropped by the backward attitudes and oversimplification espoused.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Dull monologue highly opinionated

Hitchens, sounding like a 40 a day smoker, focuses on his personal objection to cannabis. Repeatedly snearing at the fact no in depth studies have been produced on the effects of cannaboids then asserting there must be severe consequences.
Using several examples of serious crime involving cannabis and under his breath adding, the criminal was also high on alcohol or other drugs.
He is quite right in asserting people use drugs as an escape from the mundanity of an oppressive society but the rest is ‘I don’t like it so no one should be allowed it’
If he campaigned for better understanding and quality control, like alcohol, it would have come across better.
He clearly doesn’t want a lefty nanny state but proceeds to condone that government should take control and clamp down on personal freedom. Which is it?
Get the study done and have some facts before writing more on how you think it must be bad.
Gambling and alcohol are far more destructive in society and war mongering governments ruin and end far more lives than any drug.
Maybe he should have a joint and contemplate a solution to these questions!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Cracking book

Great book again from PH, very insightful and eye opening. His views really make you think about the drug policies of the UK and have made me think to re-evaluate my views on them. Points out the propaganda used to normalise drugs that's hard to see in normal life.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A non typical approach, well worth reading

Hitchens eloquently dismantles the legalisation arguments with customary erudition. You won't hear these arguments very often these days but it's often worth listening to the opposite point of view.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

educational and enlightening

An excellent book that informs and persuades the listener. Very compelling arguments but Peter isn't unaware of the counter arguments to his point of view. But he does a really good job of reasoning why they're wrong. A man a principal. So worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Against the consensus

An interesting break from received opinion and sanctimonious tripe from pseudo intellectuals.
plough that furrow.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Worthwhile Perspective

A compelling book, brilliantly narrated.

This is not to say that you will agree with every word uttered, but that is the point: To be open to ALL perspectives.

As someone who appreciates both Christopher Hitchens and Peter, I do not understand those who chose only to listen to one. To do so is like choosing to have only half an education. Here we have two brothers, both with brilliant minds, with polar opposite views, but who approach them with the same passion and integrity.

My only criticism would be that I would have liked a little more objectivity. For example, he criticises pop musicians for those occasions in which they have advocated drugs, but at no point does he acknowledge those occasions in which they have spoken out against them.

One gets the feeling that, to Peter, anyone who has taken so much as an aspirin in their lives, is a weak fool unworthy of being listened to and whose brain is no longer fit for purpose.

While the threat of prison may be a deterrent for some, surely the best way to to put people off drugs, is for them to see for themselves the damage long term use has done to so many. Therefore, the example set by rock stars is important. John Lennon for example, the dynamic force whose energy was at the forefront of getting The Beatles into the world's consciousness, was rendered a weak-minded, paranoid and subservient fool by drug use, often spouting rubbish that, in his heart, he did not really believe in. He later admitted to being embarrassed by his activism, and had become more conservative towards the end of his life - Again, something Hitchens has never acknowledged. Possibly because he doesn't know, and possibly because he does not care to know, as to do so would not fit the bias he has against such a person).

The book never takes into account the benefit of hindsight that Peter has. When The Beatles and The Rolling Stones condoned the legalisation of cannabis in the sixties for example, they were speaking out of the ignorant assumption that it was harmless (as Peter rightly said, those who are using it are in the worst position to judge this), but can Peter be so sure that he would not have been just as ignorant in 1967? It is very easy to criticise people fifty years ago, but no one was ever educated simply by others calling them idiots.

Still, this book is intelligent and thought provoking and definitely worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A much needed book

This is a well researched book that may, though not definitively, explain the growth of the black market drug industry
in Britain from the 60's/70's to its present expanding markets of County Lines. We must hope the establishment will begin to object to the subversion of the country and another generation of the young, by challenging the status quo.. It appears too many people forget that by using drugs they are supporting vicious crime, injustice and poverty, not just in Britain but elsewhere.
Definitely worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Devastating

A devastating account of how casually harmful drug use has already been effectively legalised.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Must read(listen) for the youth

A wonderful book on the reality of the drug problem, and one that tackles the key problem: why are we not actually pursuing prosecutions under M/DA 1971?
As London nears the legalization of Cannabis, imagine a world where drugs may be legalized simply because we refuse to do good policing. Hitchens takes a few jabs at the Wire, but what the TV Show got right is that drug policing is leading to worse streets. Drugs should be dealt with sharply, but Police should delegate this to community officers. We have far too many serious crimes.
Hitchens lays out a fantastic thesis for not only drug regulation but a review into SSRI, SNRI, and NaSSa drugs and Big Pharma.
As a former pain killer and anxiety sufferer, I welcome such sober and insightful study by Hitchens. As one who wallowed in pity for many years, I can attest to what Peter says. I had many Dr.s (MDs) prescribe me more and more Sedatives for anxiety. You can't take pills to escape the world. I think I just misquoted the receptionist from Psycho (1960). Anyway, to you there reading, a few passages are quite harsh and dated, but overall the substance of the book is very valuable and correct. Doctors are kowtowing to aggressive, non-compliant addicts. Cannabis needs to be chased down, and all supply routes stopped. We must go towards large fines: £1,000 or more. I recommend this book highly. Content: 5/5, Research: 5/5 (amazing), Narration: 5/5 (Superb speaker); Political Correctness: 3/5 :)