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Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug by…

Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug

by Griffith Edwards

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312302363, Paperback)

Griffith Edwards's Alcohol is a short, ambitious overview of the "the world's favorite drug." He begins on the molecular level and ranges wide, with peeks at alcohol's role in religion, in secular mythology, as a medicine, a disease, source of misery and elation, and something to be legislated and taxed. Edwards, though a stiff stylist, can be interesting, as when discussing the search for a "sovereign" remedy for alcoholism, the "disease concept" of alcoholism, the relative efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous, and especially how cultural expectations affect the behavior of inebriates. The book's brevity is problematic: a history of England's 18th-century gin epidemic raises more questions than it answers; his statement that AA "probably works, in some way or other, for not less than 50 percent of [those] who make contact with it" needs annotation; and his essay on America's Prohibition era is annoyingly sketchy. Edwards, commendably, maintains a rigorous objectivity throughout. --H. O'Billovich

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:31 -0400)

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"Alcohol is everywhere. Walk down any street in the Western world and before long your feet will kick against an empty beer can, or your attention will be captured by an alluring advertisement that suggests that alcohol can magically transform your life. Its use is integral to many aspects of popular culture, but it is also a substance that has at times been preached against and even prohibited." "In this book, Griffith Edwards uses both history and chemistry to explore the whole issue of alcohol. Is it a medicine, a delightful potion, a poison, or a mysterious combination of all three? What part has alcohol played in various cultures and religions? Why do different people behave differently when drunk? What cures for habitual inebriation were popular in the past? Why is alcoholism considered a disease? What is "safe drinking"? Is alcohol good for the heart? Do current treatments work? Does Alcoholics Anonymous have the answer?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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