Out Of It
A Cultural History of Intoxication
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
BACK COVER #It is in many ways easier to be frank today about one's sexual habits than it is to talk about what intoxicants one uses. Illegality is its own form of straitjacket, of course, but the increasing requirement, even in quite irrelevant circumstances, to declare to doctors what the level of one's intake is, together with the concomitant imperative to cut it down or pack it in, quite as if such matters were invariably their concern, is rendering us all shamefaced inarticulates on the subject. Increasingly, corporate employers are awarding themselves the right to know what is in the bloodstreams of their staff. Decline the test, and you're out. A major psychological revolution was fomented in the early twentieth century when the infant science of psychoanalysis suggested, scandalously enough at the time, that we would be better off finding some honest way to acknowledge our sexual desires rather than continuing to stifle them. The same science might profitably direct many of its moder-day clients to be equally courageous in accepting the intoxication drive, which is at least as -- if not more -- peremptory in its demands on us. That task in any case lies before us all (Freudian analysands or not), I believe, as one of the challenges of the new century, and this book is an attempt to outline some of the most important historical reasons for our arrival at the present impasse. If we can see why we have come to be so embarrassed about the topic, then we will stand a chance of emerging from the long shadow of guilt that has been cast over that proportion of our lives for so many generations.
BLURBS #"Walton is particularly, and convincingly, engrossing, an elegant and forceful stylist, and were this a longer review I would quite copiously to prove the point. For the moment, you will have to take this on trust."
-- The Guardian