Book club – Deep Sniff by Adam Zmith


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In this episode, we’ll tackle Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures by Adam Zmith. In his first book, Zmith blends historical research with wry observation to tell the story of how amyl nitrites wafted out of the lab and into gay bars, corner shops and bedrooms. Zmith leads readers through the 19th century discovery of nitrites as an angina medication and its 20th century reimagination as a drug for the queer community. But his focus on people and cultural forces means this book goes far beyond a simple history lesson.

We discuss how societal pressures and biases can influence research, and talk to Zmith about the secret pact between governments, manufacturers and users that kept poppers flying under the radar of drug restrictions.

73 episodes