A Drunkard's Defense
Alcohol, Murder, and Medical Jurisprudence in Nineteenth-Century America
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
In A Drunkard's Defense, Michele Rotunda examines a variety of court cases to explore the attitudes of nineteenth-century physicians, legal professionals, temperance advocates, and ordinary Americans toward the relationship between drunkenness, violence, and responsibility, providing broader insights into the country's complicated relationship with alcohol.
"A Drunkard's Defense represents a significant contribution to historical alcohol scholarship . . . Rotunda’s conclusions about the fraught relationship between medicine and the law will be interesting to a wide range of readers beyond academic historians.”—The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
"Deeply researched and clearly written, this book opens new territory as it treats an arresting legal problem . . . Recommended."—CHOICE
"Presenting a wealth of evidence, A Drunkard's Defense is a significant contribution, complementing other work on temperance and medical history and addressing the important and neglected topic of alcohol, murder, and the law."—Scott C. Martin, author of Devil of the Domestic Sphere: Temperance, Gender, and Middle-Class Ideology, 1800–1860
"Rotunda writes clearly and authoritatively about the controversial legal rules that allowed links between alcoholism, insanity, and violent crime in a compelling narrative that pulls together a vast literature."—Alan Rogers, author of Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts