Professional Interests

David Courtwright specializes in drug history. He also writes about violence, political and policy history, aviation, and frontier environments. He teaches medical, U.S., and world history at the University of North Florida, where he is presidential professor in the Department of History.

His latest book, The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business, will appear in the spring of 2019.


Dr. Courtwright received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in History from Rice University.

Addictions Old and New: Edited Conference Videos

Conference Banner for Addictions Old and New

Conference on behavioral and substance addictions, from compulsive overeating to marijuana.
Commentary on conference.



No Right Turn:
Conservative Politics in a Liberal America







Sky as Frontier:
Adventure, Aviation, and Empire








Forces of Habit:
Drugs and the Making of the Modern World








Dark Paradise:
A History of Opiate Addiction in America








Violent Land:
Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City








 Addicts Who Survived:
An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America








University of North Florida Teaching and Learning Resources

Department of History

UNF Oral History Project — Creating a University

Canvas at UNF

Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT)

Thomas G. Carpenter Library

UNF Department of History Digital Commons

In the News

The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of “limbic capitalism,” the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory.
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The Age of Addiction Book Cover

See David Courtwright’s American History TV episodes on C-SPAN.
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American History TV on C-Span3

"An Opioid Crisis Foretold"
New York Times Editorial
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NEH Public Scholar Grant for a history of pleasure, vice, and addiction.
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Reflections on the new edition of Addicts Who Survived
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America's Political Shift: Academic Minute broadcast
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No Right Turn
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Crisply written, colorful, and often out-of-the-box original, this is a bold, sweeping look at the last four decades of American history.”
—Gil Troy, author of Leading from the Center
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Rorotoko interview >

George H. Bush

Bill Clinton

George W. Bush

From Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, American politics supposedly took a right turn. Culture warriors blasted secularists while Republicans used popular anger over crime, drugs, welfare, and taxes to win office. Democrats learned to shun the liberal label or, like Bill Clinton, to tack toward the center. Yet, for all the tough talk, no national politician slowed the culture’s leftward drift or reined in the size and power of the government. No Right Turn tells the story of their failure—a failure that puzzled and ultimately enraged principled conservatives of both the moral and economic stripe.