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The Age of Addiction

The Age of Addiction

How Bad Habits Became Big Business

David T. Courtwright

ISBN 9780674248229

Publication date: 01/19/2021

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“A mind-blowing tour de force that unwraps the myriad objects of addiction that surround us…Intelligent, incisive, and sometimes grimly entertaining.”
—Rod Phillips, author of Alcohol: A History

“A fascinating history of corporate America’s efforts to shape our habits and desires.”
Vox

We live in an age of addiction, from compulsive gaming and shopping to binge eating and opioid abuse. Sugar can be as habit-forming as cocaine, researchers tell us, and social media apps are deliberately hooking our kids. But what can we do to resist temptations that insidiously rewire our brains? A renowned expert on addiction, David Courtwright reveals how global enterprises have both created and catered to our addictions. The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of what he calls “limbic capitalism,” the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory.

“Compulsively readable…In crisp and playful prose and with plenty of needed humor, Courtwright has written a fascinating history of what we like and why we like it, from the first taste of beer in the ancient Middle East to opioids in West Virginia.”
American Conservative

“A sweeping, ambitious account of the evolution of addiction…This bold, thought-provoking synthesis will appeal to fans of ‘big history’ in the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise

  • [A] compulsively readable book about bad habits becoming big business…In crisp and playful prose and with plenty of needed humor, Courtwright has written a fascinating history of what we like and why we like it, from the first taste of beer in the ancient Middle East to opioids in West Virginia.

    —Micah Meadowcroft, American Conservative

Author

  • David T. Courtwright is Presidential Professor Emeritus at the University of North Florida and the author of Dark Paradise: A History of Opiate Addiction in America and Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World (both from Harvard). He was an inaugural recipient of a grant from the highly competitive NEH Public Scholar Program and is a regular media commentator on the history of addiction.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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