Toner’s book is more than an entertaining collection of anecdotes, it is a subtle but persistent reminder that infamy, horrendously entertaining though it is, lurks beneath the carapace of every “civilised” society. We should not be too surprised when it emerges once again.
Dopeworld: Adventures in Drug Lands
"To its credit, Dopeworld is nothing if not ambitious. Vorobyov states as much himself, describing it bombastically as ‘true crime, gonzo, social, historical memoir meets fucked up travel book’. That is a lot to cram in. If sometimes he drops the ball (the..."
— The Spectator
As regards law and order, violence was ‘the very key to civilised order’, as not to punish malefactors and suspects severely ‘would have risked offending the gods’. Anyone who murdered a family member, for instance, in a legacy dispute, was sewn into a sack with a dog, a cockerel, a snake and an ape and thrown into the River Tiber; any Vestal Virgins who turned out to be less than virginal were carried in a mock funeral procession and walled up alive; an official called Plautius Silvanus — who threw his wife out of the bedroom window — was sent a dagger with which to slit his own wrists.