Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


The World's Favorite Drug

Griffith Edwards

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

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 medicine, a delightful potion, 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?

Armed with the best solid information science, history, and sociology have to offer, Edwards asks how, in the light of this knowledge, society might in the future better handle this pleasure-giving, somewhat dangerous drug. Can society get its pleasure out of alcohol without the inevitable suffering that accompanies misuse? If so, what steps should we take to protect ourselves and others?

Already considered in England to be a classic in the field, Alcohol will prove to be fascinating reading for the drinker and nondrinker alike.


Praise for Alcohol

“Edwards has provided an excellent overview of the social history and ramifications of alcohol. He thoroughly explores the historical, public, cultural, religious, and medical implications of the acceptance of alcohol in most societies--and exposes the myths and facts of alcohol use and abuse. Written for the student and general reader, the book gives an excellent overview of how alcohol is perceived worldwide. Highly recommended for high school, academic, and public libraries.” —Library Journal

“Edwards has spoken and written about alcohol and other drugs for years, and this factual, thoughtful book is typical of his work. . . After a brief history of alcohol, he identifies several attempts to regulate alcohol production, distribution, and overuse. He discusses the development and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous and similar organizations and treatments . . . All in all, he sheds rare clarifying light on a subject usually clouded by emotion.” —Booklist

Alcohol offers a fascinating and paradoxical look at alcohol consumption, abuse, dependence, treatment and policy. It provides a balanced historical review of alcohol issues presented in a well-written and accessible manner.” —Scott Coffey, PH.D., Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, July 2001

“In the foreseeable future, no serious journalist, no biological scientist, and no professor of sociology should write an article or prepare a course on either alcohol or the problems it engenders without reading this book from cover to cover. It is also the first book that a physician should suggest to a curious or distressed patient trying to understand either alcohol or alcoholism.” —George Vaillant, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)

“Griffith Edwards presents a detailed, accurate overview of the world's interest in and love of alcohol. Anyone with an interest in the area, from medical doctors to Alcoholics Anonymous, will find in this book important, useful information about alcohol, alcoholism, social drinking, and treatment protocols.” —The DeLand Beacon

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Griffith Edwards

Griffith Edwards is one of the world's leading experts on alcohol. Born in India, he received his MD from Oxford University. For 40 years Edwards has made a specialty of being both fair-minded and catholic in his study of alcoholism. He has made the Addiction Research Unit - more recently the National Addiction Center - at the Maudsley Hospital in London, the finest international center for postgraduate education in addiction in the world. He is editor-in-chief of the scientific journal, Addiction. For many years he has been a frequent visitor to the US and was a consultant to the White House Office on the prevention of drug abuse. He has been awarded many major international scientific prizes, including the Nathan B. Eddy medal of the US College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the Jellinek Memorial Prize, and the annual award of the American Educational and Research Society on Alcohol. He was named a Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1987, awarded for services to social science and medicine. Married with two grown-up children, he and his wife live in Greenwich, England.

Griffith Edwards

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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