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Altering American Consciousness: The History of Alcohol and Drug Use in the United States, 1800-2000 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-1558494251
ISBN-10: 1558494251
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Editorial Reviews

From The New England Journal of Medicine

This book is a salutary complement to the flood of alarmist diatribes about the need for a revitalized "war on drugs" to save the nation from decay and to the well-meaning but tired pleas for greater personal freedom and expression. There are no shrill polemics here and no pretentious proposals for tougher laws or less stringent policies. What the reader will find are interesting snapshots of an erratic historical trajectory that shows how the social context matters more than biochemistry or pharmacology when it comes to shaping how people feel, not only about drugs and those who use them, but even about what it is that we call "drugs" and why. It is evident that alcohol and drugs have a long and colorful history in the United States, as well as around the world, with patterns of use, attitudes, and even scientific interpretations and pronouncements that have varied widely over time. In this book, 14 authors write about different aspects of such changes during the past 200 years. They demonstrate novel approaches, fresh interpretations, and realistic implications, with chapter subjects as diverse as professionalism among physicians, language and "problem-definition," the status of Native Americans, sex differences, religion, LSD, and successive fads in the cessation of smoking. Each essay is enjoyable as well as informative, clear, well organized, and self-contained, with end notes and an ample bibliography. The introduction shows how the essays relate to one another and to the theme of the title. Dwight B. Heath, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"This is a terrific book. Not only do the essays stand well on their own, but these pieces interact in very exciting and suggestive ways, giving the volume the feel of an integrated study. This is a major contribution."―John W. Crowley, author of The White Logic:

Alcoholism and Gender in American Modernist Fiction


"Greatly enriches our understanding of the history of drug use in America, with particular reference to the ways that changing social attitudes intersect with legal, medical, and political aspects of addiction. . . . A welcome addition to the field."―Nicholas O. Warner, author of Spirits of America:

Intoxication in Nineteenth-Century American Literature


"This delightful volume represents a careful admixture of skillfully edited, high-quality, and richly documented contributions to the analytic history of American experiences with alcohol and drugs. The scope of the collection is expansive. Unlike many conference-based volumes, this one succeeds in getting the authors to engage with each other in ways that build coherence and resonance. . . . Overall, this volume helps constitute a convivial and cross-generational conversation."―The Journal of the History of Medicine

"In an age of uncertainty for drug science and drug policy, that makes Altering American Consciousness a must read."―The Journal of American History

"This edited volume started life as a set of conference papers, delivered in 1997, on the subject of the history of drug use in American society. Out of this has grown a book that aims to sweep across the geography and the history of American to offer an informed view of changing attitudes and responses to drug use. . . . this is a readable and enjoyable text."―Criminal Justice Review

"In a very comprehensive manner it deals with the way that the society in America has dealt with a wide range of drugs, including alcohol. . . . Despite its American basis I would strongly recommend this book, particularly in relation to the concepts of societies attitudes to readers in the United Kingdom."―Alcohol and Alcoholism

"This book is a salutary complement to the flood of alarmist diatribes about the need for a revitalized "war on drugs" to save the nation from decay and to the well-meaning but tired pleas for greater personal freedom and expression. There are no shrill polemics here and no pretentious proposals for tougher laws or less stringent policies. What the reader will find are interesting snapshots of an erratic historical trajectory that shows how the social context matters more than biochemistry or pharmacology when it comes to shaping how people feel, not only about drugs and those who use them, but even about what it is that we call "drugs" and why. It is evident that alcohol and drugs have a long and colorful history in the United States, as well as around the world, with patterns of use, attitudes, and even scientific interpretations and pronouncements that have varied widely over time. In this book, 14 authors write about different aspects of such changes during the past 200 years. They demonstrate novel approaches, fresh interpretations, and realistic implications, with chapter subjects as diverse as professionalism among physicians, language and "problem-definition," the status of Native Americans, sex differences, religion, LSD, and successive fads in the cessation of smoking. Each essay is enjoyable as well as informative, clear, well organized, and self-contained, with end notes and an ample bibliography. The introduction shows how the essays relate to one another and to the theme of the title."―New England Journal of Medicine
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558494251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558494251
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I've chosen this book for a class in addiction. It's excellent! It speaks to a different view of what we mean as "addiction" over time. Why we perceive increasing substances, behaviors or other sources of artificial comforts as potential addictions. Brilliant! Provocative! This is the book that students need to read!
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