10 FEBRUARY 1939, Page 6

In view of all the controversies about the virtues and

vices of alcohol as a food, as a stimulant, as a sedative, or purely as a beverage, it is something of a comfort to have a dis- passionate official pronouncement on the subject issued under the impeccable auspices of His Majesty's Stationery Office, and I have no hesitation in advising anyone, whether given to liquor or given to abstinence, to expend one shilling on "Alcohol in Its Action on the Human Organism," of which the third edition has just appeared. The book was first produced by a committee of scientists in 1918, and it has been revised in the light of further research by successive committees, a second edition appearing in 1924, and this latest edition now in 1939. To disclose its findings is rather like giving away the plot of a detective story. Broadly speak- ing, the authors have little good to say of alcohol, though they hold that its strictly moderate use does little harm. But motorists and others, in whom swift reactions are essential, do well to realise that its affects are definitely narcotic.