Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug by Griffith Edwards


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In Alcohol: The World’s Favorite Drug, written by Griffith Edwards, the many stages, views and sides of alcohol are addressed. Not only does one see the present effects of alcohol, but one sees the history and future of alcohol, both scientifically and socially. The author’s purpose was to demonstrate that alcohol has many faces to be differentiated and it has been this way for an extensive amount of time.
It begins with the physiological effects of the drug alcohol. One particular fact I found interesting was that alcohols effects depend not only on the chemicals, but on how the drinker believes it will affect them and the environment they are in. So if a drinker thinks that they will get great pleasure and happiness when drinking with their good buddies, they most likely will. It explains how alcohol is a drug of dependence (Edwards 58). Calling alcoholism a disease is right and wrong as told by Edwards.
It next it begins the history of drink. In Christianity, there was the wine that was to be the blood of Christ. In this way, it is portrayed as a good substance. However, it tells of the dark side, the sin of drunkenness in some cultures (Edwards 31). He demonstrates how the views of alcohol differ in different situations through time.
Throughout most the rest of the book, the history of drink is illuminated. It talks about Thomas Nashe’s Menagerie and how there are different types of drunkards (Edwards 47). The more common known history of alcohol would probably be the great American prohibition experiment, as Edwards calls it (Edwards 73). He tells how the popular rehab program known as alcoholics anonymous came about and how it influenced the treatment of alcoholism (Edwards 103).
After this he gets more into the future of alcoholism. He realizes that the drinker’s dilemma has always been the same, “to drink or not to drink” or they think “one more won’t hurt.” (Edwards 181). He states that the primary outcomes are only first-rate. It is the long term mysterious future that has the tragic consequences. His future thinking is involved with conducting studies to illustrate the impact of alcohol in the long term on various features. One example is the study he conducted on drinking and the risk of breast cancer. He states that the ideas that “alcohol might cause breast cancer are not at present established”.

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He means by this that alcohol does not cause any disease, but merely increases the risk of contracting that disease. He wonders if perhaps a new recreational drug will replace alcohol (Edwards 191). Perhaps alcohol, though according to how long it has lasted, will eventually go out of fashion. Possibly with more research that has more influence will have a better impact on society than it does today. I do however; also think that drawing connections is a valuable tool in uncovering the mysteries behind them.
My further developments involve dealing with the problem of the alcoholics. Now, after reading this book, my ideas have changed that the problem lies not within the affected, but in the cause. Without the cause, there is no effect. This is what needs to be realized in order to bring about change, thanks to this book, I too realize this.
The author Griffith Edwards proves to be a valid writer for this subject. He received his MD from Oxford University and has since devoted his works to the study and treatment of alcohol. He founded the national Addiction Center in London and was inducted as first chairman. He was once a consultant to the White House Office on the prevention of drug abuse. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Addiction. His writing is high level, one must have quite a good vocabulary and comprehension level to reveal what is being said.
This book overall was educational and dull at the same time. The language was hard to interpret at times; I did not like that about the book. It challenged me to have a higher thinking and my mind always had to be in the moment or I would not understand the concept. At times I liked that, and sometimes I didn’t. It would be a good book for someone who wants to improve their understanding skills. With the book one does it on different levels, a literary level and on a deeper level of looking at society and how it fluctuates through situations. The author’s purpose of the different faces of alcohol that have lasted for generations if effectively conveyed. I did learn some information regarding the chemical effects of alcohol. However, a lot of the scientific information, I already knew, but the historical, not so much. I must admit that the history of drunkenness did bore me, most likely because I am not a history kind of person. The information was indeed valuable and was important in adding to the books impact. I never realized that alcohol had such a vast history. It really opened my eyes to see how alcohol has been viewed throughout the times. Sometimes it was good, other times, it was the most horrific sin one could commit. The idea that the same thing can go through so many views, is fascinating. I enjoyed seeing both the good side and bad side of alcohol. It got into a lot of depth for each side, allowing me to draw my own conclusions about how to feel. I feel that alcohol can be a good thing when in moderation, just like anything else. I don’t believe that it should be completely abolished because it adds enjoyment to certain occasions; it just gives it that extra something. Once it gets out of hand is when it should be abolished. Before reading this, I just thought to get rid of it. Seeing the good side made me rethink my views.
The reason I wanted to read this book, was to learn more about the substance alcohol. What I ended with, was much more. I ended with a new understanding of how one thing, can have a huge impact on such a vast amount of bits and pieces. It turned my thinking into that in which, one little thing like alcohol, can be something much bigger than itself.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about alcohol and who wants to learn more about how the world works. Of course, it is a difficult and annoying bit of text at times, but in the end it’s all worth it, if one is willing to accept the message. Alcohol: The World’s Favorite Drug, is a quality work of text.


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