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OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Vol. 113(16), October 14, 1939
ANONYMOUS. The story of how more than one hundred men have
recovered from alcoholism. Cloth. Price $3.50. 400 pp..
New York: Works Publishing Company. 1939.
seriousness of the psychiatric and social problem represented
by addiction to alcohol is generally underestimated by those
not immediately familiar with the tragedies in the families
of victims or the resistance addicts offer to any effective
treatment. Many psychiatrists regard addiction to alcohol
as having a more pessimistic prognosis than schizophrenia.
For many pears the public was beguiled into believing that
short courses of enforced abstinence and catharsis in "institutes"
and "rest homes" would do the trick, and now that
the failure of such temporizing has become common knowledge,
a considerable number of other forms of quack treatment
have sprung up. The book under review is a curious combination
of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. It is
in no sense a scientific book, although it is introduced
by a letter from a physician who claims to know some of
the anonymous contributors who have been "cured"
of addiction to alcohol and have joined together in an organization
which would save other addicts by a kind of religious conversion.
The book contains instructions as to how to intrigue the
alcoholic addict into the acceptance of divine guidance
in place of alcohol in terms strongly reminiscent of Dale
Carnegie and the adherents of the Buchman ("Oxford")
movement. The one valid thing in the book is the recognition
of the seriousness of addiction to alcohol Other than this,
the book has no scientific merit or interest.