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

by Sarah W. Tracy (Editor), Caroline Jean Acker (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

From the New England Journal of Medicine, December 23, 2004
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.

Journal of American History, June 2005
Goes a long way toward mapping out the new landscape of drug and alcohol
history. . . . A must read.

Product Details

Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press; 1 edition (May 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1558494251



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