The Opium Queen

Media Type:Audiobook
Narrator(s):Hayden Bishop
Publish Date:04/15/2023
Run Time:5 Hours, 34 Minutes
Publisher:Dreamscape Media


Olive Yang was a widely mythologized genderqueer lesbian opium-pioneer in the 1950s heyday of the Golden Triangle. After escaping an arranged marriage with a noble cousin, Olive felt that she had no choice but to lead a life of banditry with an anti-communist rebel army supported by the CIA. As her smuggling empire grew, she became so powerful and infamous that novelists were inspired to write about her evil ruthlessness and beauty. Yet, Olive’s real life and identity remained a mystery to many. Opium Queen is a journey to uncover the true story behind the propaganda and legends. Declassified intelligence documents portray Olive as a critical operator in one of the most important fronts of the clandestine Cold War against China. Through extensive interviews with the Yang family, Olive emerges as a complex anti-hero, searching for a way to live as an open homosexual in an era when such a lifestyle was considered deeply shameful in Burma. The great military alliances that facilitate narcotics traffic in Myanmar today are Olive’s lasting legacy in the Golden Triangle, as is the disenfranchisement of the people of Kokang. Through the story of Olive’s formidable life, Opium Queen examines historic events that underpinned critical diplomatic relationships between the U.S., Myanmar, and China and were at the root of Myanmar’s current political crisis.