Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol

Front Cover
Penguin, 2008 - Cooking - 546 pages
28 Reviews
A spirited look at the history of alcohol from the dawn of civilization to the twenty first century

For better or worse, alcohol has helped shape our civilization. Throughout history, it has been consumed not just to quench our thirsts or nourish our bodies but also for cultural reasons. It has been associated since antiquity with celebration, creativity, friendship, and danger, for every drinking culture has acknowledged it possesses a dark side.

In Drink, Iain Gately traces the course of humanity’s 10,000 year old love affair with the substance which has been dubbed “the cause of—and solution to—all of life’s problems.” Along the way he scrutinises the drinking habits of presidents, prophets, and barbarian hordes, and features drinkers as diverse as Homer, Hemmingway, Shakespeare, Al Capone, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Covering matters as varied as bacchanals in Imperial Rome, the gin craze in 17th century London, the rise and fall of the temperance movement, and drunk driving, Drinkdetails the benefits and burdens alcohol has conveyed to the societies in which it is consumed. Gately’s lively and provocative style brings to life the controversies, past and present, that have raged over alcohol, and uses the authentic voices of drinkers and their detractors to explode myths and reveal truths about this most equivocal of fluids.

Drinkfurther documents the contribution of alcohol to the birth and growth of the United States, taking in the war of Independence, the Pennsylvania Whiskey revolt, the slave trade, and the failed experiment of National Prohibition. Finally, it provides a history of the world’s best loved drinks. Enthusiasts of craft brews and fine wines will discover the origins of their favorite tipples, and what they have in common with Greek philosophers and medieval princes every time they raise a glass.

A rollicking tour through humanity’s love affair with alcohol, Drinkis an intoxicating history of civilization
  

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Review: Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol

User Review  - Liz Barr - Goodreads

It's a sad reflection on the state of popular histories in general that I got really excited when Iain Gately's Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol devoted an entire chapter to Australia and the Rum ... Read full review

Review: Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol

User Review  - Matt Simmons - Goodreads

Gately writes an engaging and intriguing history of one of the very few cultural (near-)universals: drink. While the book is perhaps over-long, it never feels plodding, yet its narrative is also not ... Read full review

Contents

The Grain and the Grape
1
Bacchanal
11
In Vino Veritas
28
Wine Blood Salvation
41
Barbarians
50
Islam
65
Brews for Breakfast
76
A New World of Drinking
91
The King of San Francisco
281
Good Taste
293
Emancipation
308
Imperial Preference
322
LaFeeVerte
333
Hatchetation
344
In the Chalk Trenches of Champagne
359
Amphibians
369

WatkinsAle
105
Pilgrims
116
Restoration
131
Rum
142
Gin Fever
159
Progress
175
Revolution
187
Warra Warra
200
Whiskey with an e
215
1H Romantic Drinking
237
Apostles of Cold Water
253
West
268
Lost
385
Crime and Punishment
400
The Bottle
412
Reconstruction
423
Flashbacks
433
Westernization
443
Messages
453
Singletons Wine Lakes and the Moscow Express
467
Fiat Lux
482
Notes
499
Index
529
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Iain Gately is the author of Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Raise in Hong Kong, he studied law at Cambridge University and worked in the financial markets of London, where he currently lives.

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