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May 2, 1959

Drinking and Intoxication: Selected Readings in Social Attitudes and Controls

JAMA. 1959;170(1):133. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010010135026

Although this book is a symposium by 59 authors, expressing many viewpoints, the editor has successfully managed to present the problems of drinking, its complications, and possible remedies. After excellent chapters on the physiological and psychological effect of alcohol comes a most interesting discussion of the drinking habits of numerous cultures, from biblical times to the present. The illustrations are particularly well chosen and represent ancient statuary, bas-reliefs, and story-telling tapestries. Other chapters deal with the drinking habits of various ethnic groups, high school students, and college students, and contributory cultural, religious, and ethical factors. The account of the controversy between "wets" and "drys" is informative, and the motivation of the two groups is discussed in a logical manner. The reader will be particularly impressed, favorably or otherwise depending on his psychological background, with the chapter by Myerson, Alcoholism: The Role of Social Ambivalence. Hedonism, the worship and seeking of

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