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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Tricks Of The Trade

Alfred McCoy On How The CIA Got Involved In Global Drug Trafficking

We’ll never know what might have transpired if Western intelligence agencies hadn’t used the power of the underground drug economy and its criminal syndicates to fight communism during the Cold War. If the CIA hadn’t existed, would we have the levels of addiction we see today?

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Botany Of Desire

I sometimes think we’ve allowed our gardens to be bowdlerized, that the full range of their powers and possibilities has been sacrificed to a cult of plant prettiness that obscures more dubious truths about nature, our own included. It hasn’t always been this way, and we may someday come to regard the contemporary garden of vegetables and flowers as a place almost Victorian in its repressions and elisions.

Among The Lillies

More than a hundred of us lived at the Lighthouse Ranch, a former Coast Guard station turned Christian commune in Loleta, California. Loleta is a little dairy town nestled in the hills about a dozen miles from Eureka, which, in comparison to tiny Loleta, seemed as rough and trash-talking as a stevedore on payday. The ranch was perched on a steep bluff above the gray Pacific, and its namesake, an old lighthouse, towered over an ambitious garden of red-veined Swiss chard, stringy rhubarb, mottled pumpkins, and revved-up zucchini. A plot of land at the edge of the world, a garden where seeds took root and flourished in a coma of fog and rain — this was my home.

Health Care

I'm sitting in my new primary-care physician’s office discussing the hypoglycemia, fatigue, headaches, and food allergies that have been nibbling away at me for the past fifteen years, like so many hungry mice. I don’t really want to be here; I already know there’s nothing she can do for me. But my health insurance is paying for the office visit for a change (if you don’t count the hefty twenty-five-dollar co-pay), so I’ve really nothing to lose.



Everyone hated that dog. Every time my friends and I walked by the Hanson house, it was there, chained to a basketball pole at the far end of the long driveway: a huge retriever-mutt-thing, a hundred-and-some-odd pounds of pissed-off mange.

Readers Write


In 1967, everything I had heard about marijuana was negative. Then one of the young guys who worked for me started talking about his experiences with it. He was intelligent, fun to be around, and very good at his job. A small crack opened in my absolute certainty that all pot smokers were criminals and addicts.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”

Jeannette Rankin

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