Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

Category: Book
By (author): Slingerland, Edward
Subject:  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / Social History
  PSYCHOLOGY / Evolutionary Psychology
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: June 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 384
Size: 9.55in x 6.40in x 1.55in
Our Price:
$ 37.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A "entertaining and enlightening" deep dive into the alcohol-soaked origins of civilization-and the evolutionary roots of humanity's appetite for intoxication. (Daniel E. Lieberman, author of Exercised

While plenty of entertaining books have been written about the history of alcohol and other intoxicants, none have offered a comprehensive, convincing answer to the basic question of why humans want to get high in the first place. 

Drunk elegantly cuts through the tangle of urban legends and anecdotal impressions that surround our notions of intoxication to provide the first rigorous, scientifically-grounded explanation for our love of alcohol. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, social psychology, literature, and genetics, Slingerland shows that our taste for chemical intoxicants is not an evolutionary mistake, as we are so often told. In fact, intoxication helps solve a number of distinctively human challenges: enhancing creativity, alleviating stress, building trust, and pulling off the miracle of getting fiercely tribal primates to cooperate with strangers. Our desire to get drunk, along with the individual and social benefits provided by drunkenness, played a crucial role in sparking the rise of the first large-scale societies. We would not have civilization without intoxication. 

From marauding Vikings and bacchanalian orgies to sex-starved fruit flies, blind cave fish, and problem-solving crows, Drunk is packed with fascinating case studies and engaging science, as well as practical takeaways for individuals and communities. The result is a captivating and long overdue investigation into humanity's oldest indulgence-one that explains not only why we want to get drunk, but also how it might actually be good for us to tie one on now and then. 
Review Quote*"Wide-ranging and provocative…Drunk helpfully synthesizes the literature, then underlines its most radical implication: Humans aren't merely built to get buzzed-getting buzzed helped humans build civilization."-The Atlantic
Review Quote*"Absorbing...Slingerland makes a compelling case that human societies have been positively shaped by alcohol."-The Wall Street Journal
Review Quote*"Engrossing. This heady book is best savored as a fresh take on a contentious topic."-New Scientist
Review Quote*"Compelling and, above all, a whole lot of irreverent fun."-Smithsonian Magazine
Review Quote*"Drunk is one of those rare, enthralling books that is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Slingerland's uproarious and erudite exploration of the history, anthropology, and science of intoxicants will revolutionize how you drink and think."-Daniel E. Lieberman, Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard University, and author of Exercised
Review Quote*"Drunk is a punchy and stimulating intellectual cocktail that takes a fresh look at one of our species' most puzzling obsessions-our routine consumption of sublethal dosages of a psychoactive poison. Despite a deep erudition that effortlessly weaves together history, anthropology, genetics, and chemistry, Slingerland's book feels like a chat with an old friend over a couple of pints. You'll learn a lot, but you won't notice, because you'll be so entertained."-Joseph Henrich, author of The WEIRDest People in World, and Professor and Chair of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University
Review Quote*"Does booze make us human? In this wide-ranging, provocative, and very funny exploration, Edward Slingerland makes an excellent case that intoxication is a powerful force for trust and love. From the first paragraph about the appeal of masturbation, Twinkies, and alcohol, to the rousing ending where Slingerland urges us to leave a place for ecstasy in our lives, Drunk is a delight."-Paul Bloom, author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
Review Quote*"A brilliant and definitive book. Alcohol has been used and abused by more people in more places at more times than all other intoxicants combined. The story of drinking is, indeed, the story of humanity, and Edward Slingerland tells it with endearing wit, irreverence, wisdom, and profound insight. "-Wade Davis, author of Magdalena: River of Dreams
Review Quote*"Witty, wise, effervescent, and slyly irreverent. This sparkling chronicle belongs on the shelf of every thinking person who enjoys a drink from time to time."-Janet Chrzan, author of Alcohol: Social Drinking in Cultural Context