In the aftermath of Prohibition, America’s top scientists joined forces with members of a new group, called Alcoholics Anonymous, and put their clout behind a campaign to convince the nation that alcoholism was a disease rather than a moral failing. Their campaign spanned decades, and from it grew a multimillion-dollar treatment industry that actively promoted AA groups and the Twelve Steps as the primary way to deal with problem drinking. In our conversation about his new book US of AA: How the Twelve Steps Hijacked the Science of Alcoholism
(Chicago Review Press, 2019), author Joe Miller
discusses the history of AA, the biggest names behind the group, and how alcoholism has been defined, and treated, over the decades.
Emily Dufton is the author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America
(Basic Books, 2017). A drug historian and writer, she edits Points, the blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.