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Extended Audio Sample America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life, by Benoit Denizet-Lewis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (230 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benoit Denizet-Lewis Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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America Anonymous is the unforgettable story of eight men and women from around the country—including a grandmother, a college student, a bodybuilder, and a housewife—who are struggling with addictions. For nearly three years, acclaimed journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis immersed himself in their lives as they battled drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and compulsive gambling and sexuality. Alternating with their stories is Denizet-Lewis’ candid account of his own recovery from sexual addiction and his compelling examination of our culture of addiction, where we obsessively search for new and innovative ways to escape the reality of the present moment and make ourselves feel “better.”

Addiction is arguably America’s biggest public-health crisis, triggering and exacerbating number of our most pressing social problems (crime, poverty, skyrocketing health-care costs, and childhood abuse and neglect). But while cancer and AIDS survivors have taken to the streets—and to the halls of Congress—demanding to be counted, millions of addicts with successful long-term recovery talk only to each other in the confines of anonymous twelve-step meetings. (A notable exception is the addicted celebrity, who often enters and exits rehab with great fanfare.) Through the riveting stories of Americans in various stages of recovery and relapse, Denizet-Lewis shines a spotlight on our most misunderstood health problem (Is addiction a brain disease? A spiritual malady? A moral failing?) and breaks through the shame and denial that still shape our cultural understanding of it—and hamper our ability to treat it.

Are Americans more addicted than people in other countries, or does it just seem that way? Can food or sex be as addictive as alcohol and drugs? And will we ever be able to treat addiction with a pill? These are just a few of the questions Denizet-Lewis explores during his remarkable journey inside the lives of men and women struggling to become, or stay, sober. As the addicts in this book stumble, fall, and try again to make a different and better life, Denizet-Lewis records their struggles—and his own—with honesty and empathy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Engrossing…Denizet-Lewis gives readers a sense of the ravaging power of addiction.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “An arresting, personal glimpse into the merciless world of drug and behavioral addiction. All eight of the people (Denizet-Lewis) followed are gripping subjects, and he describes their plights in seasoned, dexterous prose.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Benoit Denizet-Lewis writes with an impressive mix of transparency and compassion about the addict’s eternal battle between will and action. He sees deep into the sadness of desperate people, and equally deep into the systems that redeem such sadness. This is an intimate, compelling volume.”

    Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

  • “This book reaches into the dark depths of the heart and soul of addiction by telling the stories of people who have struggled to find their way into the light of healing. It is a collage of potent experiences from ordinary people—women and men caught in the web of addiction whose fight for recovery will inspire anyone who reads Benoit’s book.”

    William Cope Moyers, author of Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Patrick Santana | 2/20/2014

    " Would have preferred if the author had just focused on sex addicts. The panoply of addicts covered seemed to mask and dilute the insight that one would hope from getting inside the world of these characters. What they share didn't seem as interesting as how they differed. Felt cursory and blowsy. A young author, so maybe next books... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tammy Thingelstad | 2/20/2014

    " I enjoyed the book more in the beginning and then felt my interest start to lag. It was a fine book and it did challenge some of my notions of addiction, but I didn't find it powerful or extremely informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Larry | 2/11/2014

    " Well-written and well-researched exploration in to the world of addiction. The author, himself a sex addict, follows several addicts from different regions of America and dissects their varied addictions. Good references tie many parts together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Janice | 2/4/2014

    " The author follows eight addicts of various persuasions through a few years of sobriety and relapse. "

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About the Author
Author Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Benoit Denizet-Lewis is an award-winning contributing writer for the New York Times magazine. Formerly a senior writer at Boston magazine and a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, his work has also appeared in Sports Illustrated, Details, Spin, Slate, and other publications. Benoit speaks nationally on a variety of issues—including youth culture, addiction, and sex and sexuality—and has appeared on many television and radio programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. A former Alicia Patterson Fellow, Denizet-Lewis lives in Boston.