eBooks and Periodicals

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1821): De Quincey was a well-known 19th century English journalist and essayist. He was orphaned at a young age and sent away to school, where he was successful but bored and soon ran away. He then spent several years living as a vagrant in Wales, then London. In London, he was reunited with an old family friend who supported him financially and sent him to study at Oxford. At age 28, De Quincey began to use opium (mixed with alcohol in the form of laudanum) regularly to treat his severe stomach pains. Though his intake was moderate at first, he soon became addicted. At first he rationalized the use of the drug. Later, he experienced opium-induced stupors in which he could not distinguish dream from reality nor note the passage of time. He also developed memory loss and long periods of depression. He resolved to wean himself from the drug and did so, although in the final version (1856) of this memoir he admits to having slipped back into addiction a number of times. (http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Annotation?action=view&annid=320)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1847): The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall has a dark secret. But as the captivated Gilbert Markham will discover, it is not the story circulating among local gossips. Living under an assumed name, ‘Helen Graham’ is the estranged wife of a dissolute rake, desperate to protect her son from his destructive influence. Her diary entries reveal the shocking world of debauchery and cruelty from which she has fled. Combining a sensational story of a man’s physical and moral decline through alcohol, a study of marital breakdown, a disquisition on the care and upbringing of children, and a hard-hitting critique of the position of women in Victorian society, this passionate tale of betrayal is set within a stern moral framework tempered by Anne Brontë’s optimistic belief in universal redemption. (http://podularity.com/oxford-worlds-classics-audio-guides/anne-bronte-the-tenant-of-wildfell-hall-an-audio-guide/)

John Barleycorn by Jack London (1913): Jack London wrote John Barleycorn right after his tumultuous trip to NYC early 1912. While there he appeared at suffrage functions with Charlotte Perkins Gilman (whom he knew when she lived in the Bay area) and Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, the most radical suffragist in the country (and multi-millionaire who underwrote what would become the National Women’s Party). But he also had a terrible fall with alcohol, which culminated in Baltimore when he went out and shaved his head. John Barleycorn was written intentionally as an anti-alcohol tract—hence its connection to suffrage—and this is clear from Charmian’s unpublished Diary of the Dirigo. It was also written as an apology to Charmian for his loutish behavior in NYC. In exchange for promising to quit his abuse of drink, she offered to try for another child. By the end of the voyage around the Horn, she was pregnant, although she miscarried later. He never had a bad binge after that, even after the terrible stresses of 1913 with its business failures and burning of Wolf House. (http://www.jacklondons.net/barley.html)

The Temperance Movement: or, The Conflict Between Man and Alcohol by Henry Blair (1888): “The conflict between man and alcohol is as old as civilization, more destructive than any other form of warfare, and as fierce today as at any time since the beginning. It is not an exaggeration to say that no other evil known in human history has been of such vast proportions and lamentable consequences as that of alcoholic intemperance…It is a peculiarity of this curse that it is developed by civilization, and then, like the parricide, it destroys the source of its own life. But although alcohol is his special foe, it by no means confines its dagger and chalice to civilized man.”

Alcohol, Its Production, Properties, Chemistry, and Industrial Applications; With Chapters on Methyl Alcohol, Fusel Oil, and Spirituous Beverages by Charles Simmonds (1919): “In this volume has been collected information which, it is hoped, will be found useful to those persons — a numerous class — who have occasion to employ alcohol scientifically or industrially in their various callings. Widely scattered through scientific and technical literature are many facts and figures concerning alcohol, which in one way or another are of interest and importance not only to the professional chemist, the physicist, or the scientific investigator, but also to  the manufacturer, the engineer, the technical student, the industrial research worker, and the user of a motor-car. To many among these it will, doubtless, be a convenience to have the various facts, or the most important of them, brought together and made readily accessible in a single volume such as the one now presented.”

Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe by A. Lynn Martin (2001): This book examines the effects of alcohol on gender relations in traditional Europe, focussing on England, France, and Italy in the late medieval and early modern periods, roughly 1300 to 1700. While alcohol causes physiological changes that are scientifically verifiable, the work of anthropologists reveals that much of what passes for drinking behavior and drunken comportment varies from one society to the next. In traditional Europe, as in modern Western societies, drinking led to increased sexual activity for both men and women, and it inclined men to commit acts of violence. Despite male fears of female sexuality and despite patriarchal restraints, women still consumed alcoholic beverages, sometimes in gargantuan amounts. This widespread consumption of wine, ale, or beer illustrates the importance of alcohol in traditional Europe. Alcohol was the ubiquitous social lubricant, and alcoholic beverages formed an important part of most people’s diets. (http://us.macmillan.com/alcoholsexandgenderinlatemedievalandearlymoderneurope/ALynnMartin)

Alcohol In History, An Account of Intemperance In All Ages, Together With a History of the Various Methods Employed For Its Removal by Richard Eddy (1887): “While it is not claimed that this historical field is exhausted — since no one can know better than he who has attempted the exploration of any portion of it, what vast regions are yet unexamined — ^it is believed that there are brought together in these pages a more full statement of reliable facts in regard to the extent and uniform consequences of intemperance, than can be found elsewhere.”

Denatured or Industrial Alcohol; a Treatise on the History, Manufacture, Composition, Uses, and Possibilities of Industrial Alcohol in the Various Countries Permitting its Use and the Laws and Regulations Governing the Same, Including the United States by Rufus Frost Herrick (1907): “The scarcity of literature treating the subject of Denatured or Industrial Alcohol is so great that there are practically no books concerning it. This book has therefore been prepared for the above reasons and to supply the facts in answer to the inquiries mentioned.”

Coca, Cocaine and Its Salts, Their History, Medical and Economic Uses, and Medicinal Preparation by William Martindale (1886): “I have been induced to compile this brochure, as supplementary to the short description of Coca given in the “Extra Pharmacopoeia,” on account of the attention this plant, and its alkaloid Cocaine, have excited during the past eighteen months.”

“The Drug War Revisited” by Eric Schneider (Berfrois, November 2, 2011): “This is Philadelphia’s “badlands,” where little seems to have changed after forty years of the drug war, and a stranger who is not a customer must be a cop.”

Crackpot Ideas” by Katharine Greider (Mother Jones, July/August, 1995): “Is meth the new crack? To the extent that it fills conservatives’ need for scapegoats, the liberals’ need for program funding, and the media’s need for headlines — yes. This 1995 Mother Jones feature, debunking the myth of the “crack baby,” points the way to a more skeptical look at today’s “meth epidemic.

The Epidemic That Wasn’t” by Susan Oakie (New York Times, January 26, 2009): “When the use of crack cocaine became a nationwide epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s, there were widespread fears that prenatal exposure to the drug would produce a generation of severely damaged children. Newspapers carried headlines like “Cocaine: A Vicious Assault on a Child,” “Crack’s Toll Among Babies: A Joyless View” and “Studies: Future Bleak for Crack Babies.” But now researchers are systematically following children who were exposed to cocaine before birth, and their findings suggest that the encouraging stories of Ms. H.’s daughters are anything but unusual. So far, these scientists say, the long-term effects of such exposure on children’s brain development and behavior appear relatively small.”

“LSD Returns–For Psychotherapeutics” by Gary Stix (Scientific American, September 24, 2009): “Hofmann was jubilant in the months before his death last year, at the age of 102, when he learned that the first scientific research on LSD in decades was just beginning in his native Switzerland. “He was very happy that, as he said, ‘a long wish finally became true,’ ” remarks Peter Gasser, the physician leading the clinical trial. “He said that the substance must be in the hands of medical doctors again.”

The Myth Of The ‘Crack Baby’” by Janine Jackson (Extra! The Magazine of FAIR, Sep./Oct. 1998): “There have been numerous instances when media have seized on a supposed medical “phenomenon” and hyped it beyond recognition, distorting facts irresponsibly or simply getting them wrong.  But few media fabrications have been as invidious, persistent or politically devastating as that of the so-called “crack baby.”

“The Black Candle” by Emily Murphy (Maclean’s Magazine, 1922): “Six years ago, when appointed a Police Magistrate and Judge of the Juvenile Court at Edmonton, the capital city of the Province of Alberta, I was astonished to learn that there was an illicit traffic in narcotic drugs of which I had been almost unaware, and of which the public was unaware. Year by year, this traffic has steadily grown but still the Canadian public are comparatively unenlightened concerning the ravages the traffic is making.”


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