The Urge: Our History of Addiction

Penguin Random House Audio. Jan. 2022. 11:20 hrs. ISBN 9780593413609. $22.50. PSYCH
An entrancing overview of social constructions of addiction. Fisher is an addiction specialist and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia and writes that he himself is in recovery from alcohol addiction. Exploring everything from early religious texts to public policy actions in the present-day United States, Fisher reveals interesting historical details of addiction and its treatment and explains a lot about how we have arrived where we are today. With its perspective that pure abstinence may not be the answer for everyone who struggles with addiction, this work is sympathetic and understanding; it is not a work of self-help but one of perspective. Mark Deakins does an admirable job narrating the audiobook, shifting adroitly between its memoiristic passages, its history of addiction treatment, and its arguments for how addiction should be treated in the future.
VERDICT This combination–memoir/history of addiction would be welcomed by any who want to learn more about addiction and how societies address it. Recommended.
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