A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 26, 2009 - History - 336 pages
63 Reviews
New York Times Bestseller

From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history.

Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.

For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
15
4 stars
25
3 stars
17
2 stars
5
1 star
1

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JayLivernois - LibraryThing

An interesting book picked up at Logan filled with much up to date history and corrective facts on the history of drink. The most enlightening for me was the revelation of the central role wine played ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - albertgoldfain - LibraryThing

A nice historic thread through the six subjects that succeeds in the goal of showing how each drink became very widespread and important. Would have been nice to include odd and obscure drinks that ... Read full review

All 10 reviews »

Contents

Introduction Vital Fluids
1
Wine in Greece and Rome
43
Spirits in the Colonial Period
93
Coffee in the Age of Reason
134
Tea and the British Empire
175
CocaCola and the Rise of America
223
Epilogue Back to the Source
266
NOtes
285
Index
301
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Tom Standage is technology editor at the Economist, and the author of The Turk, The Neptune File, An Edible History of Humanity, and The Victorian Internet. He lives in Greenwich, England.

Bibliographic information