SOCIAL DRINKING by
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SOCIAL DRINKING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The subtitle of this book is How to Enjoy Drinking Without Being Hurt by It but its scope is considerably more comprehensive and its essential approach is deeper and more meaningful than its title would lead one to believe. He deals with all the topics one has come to expect in a book on drinking: its physiological effects; its effects on specific mental functions; national and cultural habits of drinking; those who do not drink; the distinctions between the various levels of inebriety, heavy drinking, occasional excessive drinking and alcoholism; alcohol and women; alcohol and homosexuality; methods of treatment for problem drinkers; and formal and informal education on the problem of alcohol. But apart from all this factual and unavoidably repetitious information, Dr. Lolli is profoundly concerned with those human anxieties and fears and their corollaries of hatreds and resentments in connection with even the mild use of alcohol. He places almost exclusive emphasis then on the role of the emotions in determining individual behavior though he divides all mental functions into emotional and intellectual categories and deals with them separately. He says that the pleasurable experiences which mark the ultimate slavery of the drinker to alcohol are never clearly described in either scientific or lay literature and he enters into a discussion of what he calls ""unitary pleasure"" -- a state which alcoholics are sometimes too stupefied to enjoy but which represents, in Dr. Lolli's view, a far more dangerous condition than the generally described effects of alcoholism because it results in a final inability to distinguish between the mental and the physical. He says that the drinker's (not necessarily the alcoholic's) doom lies in the search for this pleasure of body and mind accompanied by the equally pleasurable and simultaneous expression of diametrically opposed feelings. Possibly there are several psychological areas of this book which might be challenged. Nevertheless it is both valuable and interesting and deals with the problem in a profoundly human way.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1960
Publisher: World