Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

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Drunk by Edward Slingerland proposes to be a scientific book on how alcohol and other mind-altering substances are actually good for any human being. A devout evolutionist, he posits that because drink is here, and apparently it has not been selected against by evolution, it must serve some purpose of evolutionary good. He details some of the historical records of beer, wine, and drugs. It is a surprisingly long history. He breaks into a discussion of how children solve problems differently by thinking more randomly than adults and shows evidence that people who are drunk think more like children, socially get along better with others when drinking, are much more creative when drunk, and need to get drunk to blow off steam every now and then. The author strains mightily at that evolutionary fabric to make drunken behavior seem beneficial. Only after this does he look at the dark side of drunk, blaming all of the ills associated with excesses on distilled and/or concentrated drugs and the idea of drinking alone. Finally, he suggests that we coerce drinkers to be moderate and considerate when they imbibe. He mentions but glosses over the enormous social, physical, mental, and societal costs of what he is suggesting.

There are some interesting quotations from historical drinkers. However, the rhetorical gyrations to make poisons fit into an evolutionary slot got tedious by the end and his arguments did not convince me of his position.

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Author Edward Slingerland
Star Count 2.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Hachette Books
Publish Date 01-Jun-2021
ISBN 9780316453387
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Issue July 2021
Category History