The Points Interview: George Vaillant

Editor’s Note: George Vaillant’s recent book, Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study (Harvard University Press, 2012), reflects on the famous longitudinal study begun in 1938. Here, he explains why some findings may be of interest to alcohol and drug historians.

  screenshot_1045 1. Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.

It’s a poor man’s Passages [by Gail Sheehy]—only it’s from real life.

2. What do you think a bunch of alcohol and drug historians might find particularly interesting about your book?

The value of the Grant study to the history of alcoholism is the number of urban myths that it exposes, and for this reason it received the biennial Jellinek prize for the best research in alcoholism in the world.

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