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Table of Contents


Mountain of Bones

Out of the Gutter

Discovery of the Disease

Search for Higher Power

False Dawn

Two Drunks

The Birth of Alcoholics Anonymous

Rise of the Sober Drunk

Boom and Bust

Waves of Sobriety





About the Author

Christopher M. Finan is the author of From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act- A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America and Alfred E. Smith- The Happy Warrior. He is the executive director of National Coalition Against Censorship and former director of American Booksellers for Free Expression, a program of the American Booksellers Association. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


"An appropriately harrowing account of booze and its discontents...A worthy treatment of recovery movements in American history, unsung heroes and all."
-Kirkus Reviews

"A spirited look at the history of drinking and alcoholism in America... offers captivating stories in a well-researched, in-depth manner, shining a light on a topic well worth exploring in detail."
-Publishers Weekly

"The vignettes Finan selected provide relevant facts about important players associated with the history of alcoholism and how it has been treated in the United States. An interesting read for fans of American history."
-Library Journal

"Drunks is a lively, engaging, and enlightening account of a major strain (in several senses of the word) of the American character. We drank our way to nationhood, and some of us drank too much. Cheers!"
-Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient for The Making of the Atomic Bomb

"Drunks is a fascinating history of the recovery movement that allowed me to consider my own sobriety in a broader context. Chris Finan recounts in entertaining and compelling style the experiences of those who fought to have alcoholism recognized as an illness and broke barriers in trying to treat it. I was transported throughout this journey and would like to think I might have joined the 'Marthas,' a group of mid-nineteenth-century women who were on the front lines of the battle against the deadly ravages of alcoholism. Finan has written an outstanding book that should take its place alongside the definitive texts detailing other medical and cultural issues in American society."
-Lisa Smith, author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar

"Alcohol, prescription meds, marijuana: addiction has been a problem for centuries in America. But as Chris Finan's inspiring book chronicles, people helping people is the solution. Millions of alcoholics and addicts are living sober lives. And so there is hope for those who are still suffering."
-William C. Moyers, author of Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption and vice president at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

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