A History of the World in 6 Glasses

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

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


Written with authority and charm by journalist Tom Standage, 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 six beverages that have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of human events: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

First made in the Fertile Crescent, beer became so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that by 3000 B.C.E. it was being used as currency. The main export of Ancient Greece's vast seaborne trade, wine helped spread its culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying men on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Originating in the Arab world, coffee stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. Hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it had far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Carbonated drinks, invented in 18th-century Europe and popularized in the 20th-century, are now a leading symbol of globalization, particularly Coca-Cola.

"Incisive, illuminating, and swift," (New York Times), A History of the World in 6 Glasses shows the intricate interplay of different civilizations in a fascinating new light. For Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quondame - www.librarything.com

Light and easy to read, this book could have used a few drinking songs. The history of tea within China is minimal, so that it's later arrival in Europe than distilled spirits and coffee is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LyndaInOregon - www.librarything.com

Interesting take on how the development, use, and trade in beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea, and cola drinks have impacted human history. Standage casts a wide net here, looking at issues as ... Read full review

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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

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About the author (2009)

Tom Standage is digital editor at the Economist and editor in chief of Economist.com. He is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller A History of the World in 6 Glasses and The Victorian Internet, described by the Wall Street Journal as a “dot-com cult classic.” Standage has written for numerous publications, including Wired, the New York Times, and the Guardian. He lives in London with his wife and children. Visit his website at www.tomstandage.com.

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