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August 2, 1976

Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston

JAMA. 1976;236(5):513-514. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270050057040

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Concise, readable, modestly priced books about alcoholism are as difficult to find as inexpensive premium vintage wines. Dr Goodwin has here written a modestly priced text that is not only equal to the high-priced volumes currently available but is superior to most. His 171-page book presents an up-to-date, enlightened discussion of issues and, in my opinion, is destined to become a classic.

The title of the volume does not convey the wide scope of materials presented to the physician and lay reader. Although Dr Goodwin presents a careful and succinct analysis of his own research and that of others concerning heritability of risk for developing alcohol-related disorders, he achieves far more than a good description of this important area of inquiry. The book carefully traces the effects of alcohol on biological and behavioral function and highlights new information derived from many disciplines, including biology, psychology, and sociology, indicating the beneficial