Agent: Columbus State professor’s book to ‘blow lid’ off alcohol addiction treatment industry

Joe Miller
Joe Miller

Remember the correspondent who provided Ledger-Enquirer readers with coverage of the ethics trial that convicted former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard this year? Well, Joe Miller has written about another series of events involving an even more famous politician, but this time it’s a little-known story.

Miller, a Columbus State University assistant professor of English, has signed a contract to have his new manuscript, “US of AA: Science, Alcoholism, and the Rise and Fall of the Twelve Steps,” published in 2018 by the Chicago Review Press.

Miller explained in a CSU news release why he received a $1,560 Moody Research Grant to visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas.

“Johnson was the first president to identify alcoholism as a disease, and his administration laid the groundwork for the establishment of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA),” he said before his trip this month. “I hope to find information in his papers that will help me tell the story of how he came to view alcoholism as a high-priority public health issue.”

Just like Miller’s reporting gave the L-E’s readers insight into the Hubbard controversy, his forthcoming book is expected to break new ground.

His agent, Ayesha Pande Literary of New York, posted on its Facebook Page: “This book — deeply researched and beautifully written — will blow the lid of the alcohol addiction treatment industry.”

Pande compared the potential impact of Miller’s book to “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal,” the 2001 international bestseller that was made into a 2006 movie starring Greg Kinnear and Bruce Willis.

Miller’s book will detail “the history of how AA became the de facto alcoholism treatment policy even though much more effective treatments are available,” Pande said in the post.

His first book, “Cross-X: The Amazing True Story of How the Most Unlikely Team from the Most Unlikely of Places Overcame Staggering Obstacles at Home and at School to Challenge the Debate Community on Race, Power, and Education” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), won the William Rockhill Nelson Award and Harry Chapin Award for nonfiction. The book is about the Kansas City Central High School debate team that defied the odds to finish in the top 10 at the 2002 national championships.

Miller twice has been a finalist for the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards and John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism. His stories also have appeared in Vibe, Salon, The Missouri Review and New Letters.