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America Anonymous


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About the Author

Benoit Denizet-Lewis is a writer with The New York Times Magazine and an assistant professor of writing and publishing at Emerson College. He is the author of Travels With Casey, America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life, and has contributed to Sports Illustrated, The New Republic, Details, Slate, Salon, Out, and many others. Denizet-Lewis lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Follow him @BenoitDLewis.


Verdict: Denizet-Lewis's tendency to scatter case study details across chapters somewhat hampers continuity. The result is a journalistic survey with an introspective bent rather than a tool for students and clinicians. An optional purchase for most public libraries. Background: According to research reported here, the economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States was estimated at $534 billion in 2007. Denizet-Lewis, an award-winning journalist and a self-professed sex addict, explores the full spectrum of this public health problem through a series of case studies and commentary. The book is based on his encounters with eight men and women whose addictions range from the traditional (alcohol and drugs) to less recognized but similarly destructive forms (gambling, food, sex, and shoplifting). Episodes from each person's life showing their struggles with addiction are interwoven with relevant research findings and opinions about causes and treatment. Information on new drugs for chemical addictions including possible vaccines illuminate the disease aspect of addiction.-Antoinette Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IN Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 23 million Americans are hooked on drugs or alcohol, representing an annual economic loss of $524 billion. Millions more have become enslaved to other compulsive behaviors: overeating, sex, gambling and shoplifting. In his first book, Denizet-Louis follows eight average Americans--including an athlete and a grandparent-- who are struggling with addiction. The author covers three years in the lives of his subjects, portraying them with candor and compassion, giving these compulsions a more human face by telling the story of his own sex and pornography dependence, for which he twice sought inpatient treatment. This book provides an intriguing glimpse into the brain of an addict and the new hit or miss treatments--dopamine blockers and antieuphoria medications. While the excerpted e-mails and taped monologues might test the reader's patience, Denizet-Lewis is a compelling storyteller, and his wide-range of stories of addiction, relapse and recovery far exceeds other books in the genre. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Benoit Denizet-Lewis writes with an impressive mix of transparency and compassion about the addict's eternal battle between will and action. He sees deep into the sadness of desperate people, and equally deep into the systems that redeem such sadness. This is an intimate, compelling volume." -- Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
"This book reaches into the dark depths of the heart and soul of addiction by telling the stories of people who have struggled to find their way into the light of healing. I t is a collage of potent experiences from ordinary people -- women and men caught in the web of addiction whose fight for recovery will inspire anyone who reads Benoit's book." -- William Cope Moyers, author of Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption
"A dazzling portrait of eight addicts and their intimate, sometimes heartbreaking struggle... Addicts will read this book; those who want to understand addiction should read it!" -- Susan Cheever, The Daily Beast
"An arresting, personal glimpse into the merciless world of drug and behavioral addiction. All eight of the people (Denizet-Lewis) followed are gripping subjects, and he describes their plights in seasoned, dexterous prose." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"I was skeptical about another book about addiction, but Denizet-Lewis finds a fresh, provocative approach to the subject... I often felt like I was right there listening to the conversations. And, boy, was I paying attention." -- Rochelle Olson, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"I couldn't put this book down. I was blown away by the remarkable cast of characters, who come fully alive in Benoit's gentle hands. He exposes and explodes a million myths about addiction, never succumbing to the temptation to make addiction -- or recovery -- less complex than it is. This unforgettable book is far more than a compilation of irresistible, artfully told stories about addicts. It's about truth, healing, survival, and hope." -- David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
"One of the best books I've read in the last year, and one of the most powerful I've encountered about addiction." -- Rachel Kramer Bussel, The Huffington Post
"A graceful, compelling book focusing directly on people, not on concepts or proscriptive ideas. Denizet-Lewis relates their successes, relapses, and struggles to stay clean with warmth, clarity, and a deeply refreshing, unpuritanical frankness." -- Kate Christensen, ELLE
"Engrossing... Denizet-Lewis gives readers a sense of the ravaging power of addiction." -- Vikas Turakhia, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"America Anonymous makes for addictive reading." -- Johnny Diaz, Boston Globe

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