By the New Yorker investigator (a good part of this book appeared there) this is again a flawless piece of field work into an area where many misconceptions, some of them wishfully induced, still obtain. It is also a historical, chemical, clinical, and metabolic description and definition of what alcohol is and what it does to the human system. Its origins and the evidence of its presence in earlier cultures; its curative benefits (negligible); its mythology or the ""illiterature of medicine"" it has occasioned; its disease-generating powers (negligible too- since alcohol aggravates conditions but does not cause them); and finally alcoholism as differentiated from drunkenness- all complete the sobering truths about the ""Christian diversion"". Roueche (Eleven Blue Men- The Greener Grass, etc.) has a select market for these specialized inquiries and he is a writer of ease and exactitude.