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(1934). Alcohol and Man. The Effects of Alcohol on Man in Health and Disease. Edited by Dr. Haven Emerson. Published by The Macmillan Co., New York, 1932. Pp. 451. Price $3.50.. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(3):360.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(3):360

Book Review

Alcohol and Man. The Effects of Alcohol on Man in Health and Disease. Edited by Dr. Haven Emerson. Published by The Macmillan Co., New York, 1932. Pp. 451. Price $3.50.

The reviewer does not remember to have seen a book published in this country which set forth the effects of alcohol upon the human being without prejudice. The various books and papers that he has read on this subject have invariably been special pleadings either for the wet or the dry point of view. The present work, under the editorship of Dr. Haven Emerson, has made a sincere attempt to impartially present the evidence for and against the use of alcohol, and so far as the reviewer is able to see, it has succeeded extraordinarily well. Very little of personal prejudice could be found in its pages by the most meticulous critic. There are chapters on the physiological effects of alcohol and the effects of alcohol on the cell, of its therapeutic uses, and its effect on resistance to disease, its effects upon conduct and upon longevity, mortality, and morbidity. The chapters are all excellent and contain in their totality not only a great deal of information, but a very excellent summary of the status of our present knowledge of this subject. No one can close the book without being convinced that so far as the individual is concerned alcohal has many, and sometimes, serious dangers, and very few, if any, virtues. There is one chapter that of necessity, undoubtedly, is missing. Some years ago we heard much of alcohol as a selective agent, and it was thought of by not a few as beneficent to the race because it helped to kill off the weaker members more rapidly. Everything in this book indicates that alcohol does produce these effects. Its use tends to shorten life in various ways, but what the net results of its effect upon the race have been is not indicated, and probably the whole problem is too tremendously complex for any statistical study, for example, to have such meaning. Stockard's work on guinea pigs comes closest to touching this problem and is recorded in his chapter.

The book can be particularly recommended as a sane and orderly presentation of the facts as they are known and generally agreed upon, and is a refreshing antidote to the wild clamor of fanatics on both sides of the fence.


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