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The Day George Bush Stopped Drinking: Why Abstinence Matters to the Religious Right [Hardcover]

Jessica Warner

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Book Description

Sept. 30 2008
A completely original exploration of abstinence movements in America — from alcohol to sex to meat.

Over the last two hundred years, Americans have sworn off alcohol, masturbation, spicy foods, fatty foods, pickles, coffee, tea, drugs, sex, meat, and more. Even now, America is a country of abstainers: eighty percent don’t smoke, forty percent don’t drink, three percent don’t eat meat, and one-third of all public-school students are taught abstinence-only sex education. In this remarkable new book, critically acclaimed author Jessica Warner examines why Americans abstain — and why they want you to abstain.

With her trademark wit and stunning prose, Warner shows how abstinence and evangelical Protestantism both burst onto the American scene in the early nineteenth century. At that time abstinence was the ultimate liberal ideal, the handmaiden of abolitionists and feminists who gave up liquor and coffee and pickles and everything else that stood in the way of their campaign to make America the promised land. Today, of course, abstinence is synonymous with social conservatives, with people like Jerry Falwell and George W. Bush. How this change happened goes to the very heart of this provocative and original book.

To read The Day George Bush Stopped Drinking is to understand why America has always just said no — and why it always will.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (Sept. 30 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771088531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771088537
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,363,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“[Warner] displays the broad sweep of the historian and the analytical eye of the political scientist in this tidy little volume. . . . The story of abstinence is the story of some of the most colourful figures in U.S. history.”
Globe and Mail

“A fine social history.”

“Exemplary . . . recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand North American culture today — the war on drugs, the increase in teetotalism and a teen virginity movement that is displacing safe-sex programs.”
National Post

About the Author

Jessica Warner is a research scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and teaches in the graduate faculty of the Department of History at the University of Toronto. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason and The Incendiary: The Misadventures Of John The Painter, First Modern Terrorist, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. She lives in Toronto.

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