Title: King Charles of New York City (How a Poor Georgia Farm Boy Became a World Authority on Drug and Alcohol Treatment)
Author: Gary W. Neidhardt
Publisher: Westwood Publishing, LLC
Reviewed by: Anthony Avina
Pacific Book Review
Patrick J. Kennedy once said, “No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.” In author Gary W. Neidhardt’s book King Charles of New York City: How A Poor Georgia Farm Boy Became A World Authority On Drug And Alcohol Treatment, readers are given a rare glimpse into the detailed life and history of one of the leading figures in alcohol and substance abuse treatment, and his early role in the development of programs such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).
From cures to addiction and claiming (and slightly proving) that doctors across the United States were addicts themselves and responsible for creating and continuing the atmosphere of addiction, to helping one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous not only have a breakthrough on his own addictions, but funding 50% of the book that would be the foundation for AA to begin with. Charles Towns was one of the most influential and critical figures in the fight against substance abuse that history has forgotten. This book expertly explores the man’s life and actions, from the biographers who became fascinated with his ability to break animals on his farm as a young man (which they credit with his ability to convince addicts to end their addictions), to his discovery of what would later be known as the Towns Treatment and beyond.
This was one of the more thorough and well researched biographies I’ve read. The writer’s ability to blend witness accounts of Charles Towns, to the infusion of other book passages and personal accounts, along with the passionate writing play prominently well in the book. The writing was detail oriented, yet was presented in a way which is engaging and showcases some of the more personal traits of this long forgotten figure in history, including his passion for treating addicts not as criminals or the lower class of society, but as victims to the medical treatments that allowed these addictions to flourish.
This is a wonderful book for those who enjoy deep dives into history and well researched biographies. This is also perfect for anyone with a passion or interest in the study of addiction and addiction treatment. As someone who has had to watch someone close to me in my life deal with addiction and succumb to its power over them, it was fascinating and interesting to dive into the history of this man who fought so hard against addiction and fought to help those who suffered for it; something you don’t see a lot of in our modern day history.
Overall this is a fascinating study of a man who is all too often forgotten. A person who’s work is so influential to our world today and the continuing struggle against addiction, the name Charles Towns should be one that is taught in the modern age. From the painstaking details of the treatments he discovered to heavily researched documents and even old newspaper articles that followed his career, this biography is incredibly detailed and engaging for readers interested in the subject. If you enjoy well written and forgotten historical accounts and biographies, then grab your copy of King Charles of New York City by Gary W. Neidhardt today.