With this unforgiving mentality, Anslinger ruled over the Federal Narcotics Bureau (a precursor to the DEA) for more than three decades — a formative period that shaped the United States’ drug policy for years to come. During this time, he implemented stringent drug laws and unreasonably long prison sentences that would give rise to America’s prison-industrial complex. Because of Anslinger, millions of lives were swept up in the drug war’s dragnet, if they weren’t outright ended. But Anslinger’s wasn’t so much a war on drugs as it was a war on culture, an attempt to squelch the radical freedom of the Jazz Age for people of color. Anslinger was a xenophobe with no capacity for intellectual nuance, and his racist views informed his work to devastating effect. But he couldn’t have done it, nor reigned as long as he did, without a cast of complicit politicians who shared his bigoted vision for what America should be.