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Review of "Circles of Recovery"

By Keith Humphreys
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Review by James E. de Jarnette, Ph.D. on Jul 18th 2005
Circles of Recovery

Enjoying reading a book and giving it a great review is often mutually exclusive. I enjoyed reading Circles of Recovery. It is a good book for a limited audience of people who are working in the field of addictions.

When you begin this book, you have the feeling that you are reading a discussion of the literature section of a doctoral dissertation. There are many studies cited throughout the book. Many of the studies are critiqued, compared and contrasted. However, you have to trust that the author's ability to thoroughly understand and use his knowledge of research design is at least on par with your own. The actual methodologies of the studies are not given sufficiently to be able to draw conclusions yourself.

The historical scope of this book is very good. It begins with the earliest addiction related self-help treatments and moves through some of the better-known groups such as AA. These histories are interesting and it is easy to see how one self-help organization built on another.

The overall opinion of the author is that self-help groups are good, but they are much better when paired with professional help. I think that this could have been said in far fewer pages; however, it wouldn't be a book then, it would be a pamphlet.

Professionals who write books as well as scientific articles could, for the most part, better serve their audience if they had taken several creative writing courses. Verbosity is not the answer to boring material and complexity is not the cure for, "who cares about this subject anyway." Keeping this in mind, I will end this review by saying it gets a 4 out of a possible 10 on my Want To Read rating scale.


© 2005 James E. de Jarnette


James E. de Jarnette, Ph.D., Forensic Child Custody Evaluator