This Strange Illness: Alcoholism and Bill W.

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Transaction Publishers, Jan 1, 2004 - Self-Help - 403 pages
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This brilliant work, both personal and professional in character, is a study of alcoholism, of a movement aimed at its cure, and of an individual participant in this development. The author develops an interlinked theory and scientific research program that describe an illness of the mind, body, and spirit. He does so without allowing the assumptions underlying the way we look at one area of illness, say the mind, to contradict the assumptions underlying the way we look at the human body or for that matter the human spirit. That Lobdell carries this project to a successful conclusion makes this a compelling work for everyone in the field of alcohol studies and social pathology. Lobdell, who has written on a broad range of subjects, here argues the originality and importance of recognition of alcoholism as a tripartite illness, and of congruent treatment for the three parts. He thus accepts a medical view of this vast social problem, but also recognizes dimensions within it that go beyond the ordinary limits of medical practice, as well as the complexity of its treatment. His book is at once an intellectual history of Bill W.'s vision; a short history of alcohol addiction and the culture of that addiction; a treatise on the psychological, biochemical, and spiritual aspects of the illness and its treatment; and a scientific research program for the future. Norman K. Denzin of the University of Illinois has hailed the book "as a wonderful story brought to a sophisticated readership, and will widely appeal to the recovering population." Matthew J. Raphael, intimate with the subjects as well as the concerns of this book says, "This Strange Illness is an astounding book. Jared Lobdell, a brilliant polymath, traverses a spectrum of disciplines û from biogenetics and chaos theory to psychology, sociology, and theology û in search of a sufficiently complex and comprehensive understanding alcoholism. This is the most intellectually rigorous study I have ever seen in the field." Jared C. Lobdell is author or editor of a dozen books in history and criticism and a number of articles in fields ranging from alcohol studies to systems analysis. He has served as a fellow at the Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Studies, Brown University. His current positions are at Millersville University of Pennsylvania and adjunct professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

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I was privileged to receive a copy of this title from its author. I have been much interested in the findings of Professor William James, Dr. Edwin Starbuck, and others as to the efficacy of conversions in the treatment and cure of alcoholism. Dr. Lobdell's book is scholarly, extremely helpful, and of particular relevance when one is looking into the importance of conversions in early A.A. The subject is relevant when one examines the conversion of Bill W. at the altar in Calvary Rescue Mission and the other conversion incidents in his life It is relevant in considering the major importance of conversions in the younger years of Dr. Bob with his training in St. Johnsbury, Vermont And its relevance today is in examining and understanding how and why the early A.A. pioneers in Akron were all required to accept Christ, did so without exception, and amassed the astonishing success rates of 75% in Akron and 93% in Cleveland. Dr. Lobdell's work, and also the work of his wife in detailing A.A. as it really is (a book also well worth reading and using)will be helpful to others as it was to me. God Bless, Dick B. 

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