Book Summary: Drunk by Edward Slingerland

Drunk by Edward Slingerland Book Cover

Drunk is a book written by Edward Slingerland that explores the concept of drunkenness and its impact on human culture and history. The book delves into the various ways that alcohol has been used throughout history, from its use in religious ceremonies to its role in social gatherings. Slingerland argues that drunkenness has played a significant role in shaping human society and that it continues to be an important part of many cultures today.

In the first chapter of Drunk, Slingerland traces the history of drunkenness from its earliest recorded instances in ancient civilizations. He argues that alcohol has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history, including as a means of social control, a way to facilitate trade, and a tool for religious and spiritual experiences. Slingerland also discusses the many ways that alcohol has been used in different cultures, from its use in ancient Greece as a means of socializing to its role in Native American cultures as a way to connect with the spirit world.

Chapter 2: The Science of Drunkenness

In the second chapter of Drunk, Slingerland delves into the science behind drunkenness, including the chemistry of alcohol and how it affects the brain. He also discusses the various physiological and psychological effects of alcohol, including its impact on mood, memory, and motor skills. Slingerland also explores the ways that different people respond to alcohol, including the genetic factors that can influence how someone metabolizes alcohol.

Chapter 3: The Art of Drunkenness

In the third chapter of Drunk, Slingerland examines the art of drunkenness, including the many ways that alcohol has been used in art and literature throughout history. He discusses the depiction of drunkenness in works of art ranging from ancient Greek pottery to contemporary film, as well as the ways that alcohol has been used as a source of inspiration for artists. Slingerland also explores the role of alcohol in music and literature, including its use as a means of expression and a way to connect with others.

Chapter 4: The Philosophy of Drunkenness

In the fourth chapter of Drunk, Slingerland explores the philosophy of drunkenness, including the many ways that alcohol has been used to explore questions of meaning and existence. He discusses the role of alcohol in religious and spiritual practices, as well as its use in philosophical debates throughout history. Slingerland also examines the ways that alcohol can alter one’s perception of reality and how this can lead to profound insights and experiences.

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Chapter 5: The Future of Drunkenness

In the final chapter of Drunk, Slingerland looks towards the future of drunkenness, including the ways that alcohol may continue to shape human culture and history. He discusses the potential benefits of alcohol, including its potential to promote social bonding and improve mental health. Slingerland also explores the potential risks of alcohol, including its impact on physical health and its potential for addiction. Overall, Slingerland argues that alcohol will continue to play an important role in human society, and that it is up to individuals to use it responsibly and in moderation.


Drunk is a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of the history, science, art, and philosophy of drunkenness. Through his extensive research and thoughtful analysis, Slingerland demonstrates the many ways that alcohol has shaped human culture and history, and he provides valuable insights into the potential benefits and risks of alcohol use. Overall, Drunk is a must-read for anyone interested in the complex and multifaceted nature of drunkenness and its impact on human society.

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