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Alfred McCoy

Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After earning his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale in 1977, his writing on this dynamic region has focused on two topics--the political history of the modern Philippines and the politics of opium in the Golden Triangle.


His first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, 1972), sparked controversy at the time of its publication, but is now regarded as the standard work on the subject of illicit narcotics. It has been in print  for over 30 years, and been translated into nine languages, most recently Thai and German. His most recent book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York, 2006), continues his exploration of the covert netherworld and its influence upon U.S. foreign policy and domestic society.


Three of his books on Philippine history have won that country's National Book Award. In March 2001, the Association for Asian Studies awarded him the Goodman Prize for his career contributions to the historical study of the Philippines. His forthcoming book on Philippine police during the 20th Century draws together these two strands in his research, organized crime and modern Philippine history, to explore the role of police, information, and scandal in the shaping of the US national security state. 



Have Americans developed a taste for torture?
ASK THIS | February 13, 2006
The author of a new book on torture wonders why public response to an issue that cuts to the very core of America's national identity has been so muted. And he lays out a series of questions for President Bush, congressional candidates and your readers aimed at bearing witness to what may turn out to be a fundamental shift in moral choices by the American public.

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