Swimming with Crocodiles: The Culture of Extreme Drinking

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Edited by Marjana Martinic and Fiona Measham Routledge
280 pages. $54.

A drunk young man in South Africa feels so invincible that he swims in a crocodile-infested river. He is among hundreds of focus group participants in seven countries (also including Brazil, China, Italy, Nigeria, Russia and Scotland). These groups, along with case studies from the United Kingdom, France, Spain and the United States, are used to contend that the “pursuit of intense intoxification appears to be increasingly favored by youth and young adults in many countries … across the developed and developing world.”

Editors Marjana Martinic, a developmental neuroscientist from the International Center for Alcohol Policies, and Fiona Measham, a substance abuse researcher, define extreme drinking with five criteria: intoxication, a quest for loss of control, the pursuit of pleasure, drunkenness risky to health and well-being, and “controlled loss of control.”

Contributors identify stakeholders to jointly combat extreme drinking, from governments to the beverage industry to civil society. (800) 634-7064, http://www.routledge.com.