Alfred W. McCoy

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Alfred W. McCoy, J.R.W. Smail Professor of History. wiki

"After earning a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale in 1977, my writing on this region has focused on two topics--the political history of the modern Philippines and the politics of opium in the Golden Triangle. My first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, 1972), originally sparked controversy when the CIA tried to block its publication. But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic (Revised Edition, New York, 2003).

"Three of my books on Philippine history have won that country's National Book Award. And in 2001, the Association for Asian Studies awarded me the Goodman Prize for career contributions to the historical study of the Philippines. My most recent monograph on that country, Closer Than Brothers (New Haven, 1999), studies the impact of CIA torture training upon the Philippine military.

"Drawing on lessons learned from torture’s lingering legacy in the Philippines, I published A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York, 2006), exploring the impact on America of a half-century of propagating and practicing psychological torture. A film based in part on that book, "Taxi to the Darkside," won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2008.

"Through these global studies of crime and covert operations, my work has, in recent years, moved beyond a regional focus on Southeast Asia to broader, transnational reflections on the character of what I call, for want of better words, the “covert netherworld”—that invisible interstice inhabited by criminal syndicates and clandestine services." [1] CV

Other Books

  • Alfred W. McCoy, Drug Traffic: Narcotics and Organised Crime in Australia (Harper & Row, 1980).

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Alfred W. McCoy, wisc, accessed May 22, 2009.