Cover image for Alcohol : the worlds favorite drug
Alcohol : the worlds favorite drug
Edwards, Griffith.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
viii, 230 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London ; New York : Penguin Books, 2000.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5035 .E39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV5035 .E39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Alcohol can be an item of diet, a medicine, sometimes an element in religious ritual. It is a valued object for the connoisseur, a traded commodity and a symbol of national pride (wine for instance in France, whisky in Scotland). The range of social and medical problems associated with alcohol and the history of related treatment methods (including the temperance movement, prohibition, AA and a range of contemporary approaches) are considered here. Already considered a classic in the field in England, Alcohol has proved to be fascinating reading for drinkers and nondrinkers alike.

Author Notes

Griffith Edwards is one of the world's leading experts on alcohol. Born in India, he received his M.D. 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.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

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 and its potable forms, he offers an account of public drunkenness in which he identifies several burgeonings and subsequent attempts to regulate alcohol production, distribution, and overuse. When the public-health aspects of drunkenness became evident, different levels of government intensified control efforts, the most famous of which, U.S. prohibition in the 1920s, Edwards describes without bias in a small masterpiece of analytical historiography that explodes myths many people still believe about the supposed evils of the era. He discusses the development and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous and similar organizations and treatments, pointing out that each troubled person must be treated individually and considering alcoholism as a disease evenhandedly. In conclusion, he documents the scientific contradictions to the current sentiment that «a little alcohol is good for your heart.» All in all, he sheds rare clarifying light on a subject usually clouded by emotion. William Beatty.

Library Journal Review

Edwards, a psychiatrist, professor emeritus of addiction behavior at the University of London, editor in chief of the scientific journal Addiction, and a member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Alcohol and Drugs, 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 from ancient Egypt to the 21st century and exposes the myths and facts of alcohol use and abuse. Written for the student and general reader rather than for academics and professionals, the book gives an excellent overview of how alcohol is perceived worldwide, though the usage of British English (the author resides in London) can be a bit confusing at times. Highly recommended for high school, academic, and public libraries. Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.