Is alcohol a universal feature of human society? Why is it problematic in some countries and not others? How was alcohol helped build the modern state? These are just a few of the questions that sociologist John O'Brien addresses in States of Intoxication: The Place of Alcohol in Civilisation(Routledge, 2018). His book offers a broad and diverse perspective on alcohol use and suggests that booze has been an important element in developing communities and building up tax bases. In the era of "superpubs" and microbreweries, O'Brien lends insight into contemporary discussions around alcohol.
Lucas Richert is an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He studies intoxicating substances and the pharmaceutical industry. He also examines the history of mental health.