A sympathetic collection of talks from a priest, himself an ex-alcoholic, who lectures widely on the subject of alcoholism and has even had his talks filmed by the US Navy as a training resource. Unfortunately, Martin's ""message of hope""--which, by the way, is directed more to those whose lives include alcoholics than to the alcoholics themselves--is more general than specific, more attitudinal than practical. He maintains that we inadvertently goad alcoholics on by laughing at their performance while under the influence (hence the title). He distinguishes between alcohol ""abusers"" and true alcoholics (the former still have some measure of choice, the latter do not, so the abusers come in for most of the censure). There are eight guidelines for helping alcoholics recover: change any of our negative attitudes (such as a conviction that alcoholics are immoral); recognize the symptoms of true alcoholism (""An alcoholic is a person whose drinking causes problems""); confront the person with specific information, rather than general accusations; etc. Since alcoholism is seen as a family disease, Martin insists that the entire family should be treated along with the alcoholic: ""The things that happen to children in an alcoholic home are beyond describing."" Okay as a pep talk, but for more concrete information and help, try Clark Vaughan's Addictive Drinking (p. 726).