Seen through the lens of alcoholis
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There are a lot of interesting theories here, but they’re mostly conjecture and extrapolated from very little real evidence. It’s also sloppily written, frequently repeating the same phrases or bits of information, breaking chronology in confusing ways, and burying important information in service of Cheever’s theories which are fairly clearly founded in her adherence to Alcoholics Anonymous.
I really wanted to enjoy this, but I found it very difficult and I really can’t recommend it.
I love thematic histories. There is just something really awesome about having a cohesive thread connecting the individual stories/eras, etc. This is my second thematic history of US and the first good one, the other one connected through guns, which is arguably just as American. Or not. At least not according to this book, which makes drinking seem more American than guns, baseball and peanut butter together. Cheever, who has an impressive pedigree as both writer and drinker, starts with the pi
This is a good book, entertaining and well written. But I’m sure Susan Cheever would agree that, as a historian, her first duty is to the facts. A factual error, even if minor and not related to the central premise, creates a red flag, and is apt to make the reader view the rest of the work with suspicion. Unfortunately, Ms. Cheever makes several.
Early in the book, in referring to Benedict Arnold’s treason, she writes that it occurred “a few years after Ticonderoga, after the surrender at Yorkto