Very thoughtful study of a problem of the utmost importance for Colombia. The author analyzes the countrys economic and political development since the post-war to better understand the profound changes it has undergone, he then proceeds to survey the known facts about the illegal drug industry. Within this context, Thoumi attempts to determine why Colombia developed, since the 1970s, a marijuana, and subsequently a cocaine, industry. Further, he evaluates the effects of the drug trade on the Colombian economy and social order. The final analysis suggests that Colombias chances of reducing the negative impact of the drug trade are slim –Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.