Monday, April 22, 2013

51:120 The History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

A look at how specific drinks (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, sodas) have molded and shaped societies in unimaginable ways.  Beer as one of the first forms of payment (along with bread) since the process made water that was previously contaminated safe for drinking.  Wine, the first social drink.  Spirits, particularly rum, which encouraged the slave trade.  Coffee, for the intellectuals.  Tea, the drink of the British Empire (after they were introduced to it by the Chinese).  And lastly, Coke which has become a popular drink the world over as well as a symbol of America and consumerism.  I found his weaving together of drinks with society an interesting way of presenting history and definitely more lively than dry textbooks.  There were a few times when I thought he stretched a bit to make the connections work and other places where I think the information wasn't laid out as well as it could have been but overall, an enjoyable book.  Not one I normally would have picked up but that's the best reason in the world to be part of a bookclub!

Page count: 322p/12,863p ytd/157,283p lifetime

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