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Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel Hardcover – May 15, 2008

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author traces the Daniel family lineage from Scotland and Ireland to rural Tennessee, and Jasper "Jack" Newton Daniel's rise from hardscrabble youth to a dandy gent with a love of horses, fine clothes and women, a colleague of J.P. Morgan's and one of the most famous spirits producers in the world. Orphaned at 15, Jack discovered a whiskey still on the property of his longtime neighbor and new guardian, Dan Call, and his interest in distilling booze was born. Krass (Carnegie) details the early business partnership between Call and Daniel and their eventual split, as Call forces himself to choose between preaching and making whiskey. "One Call [descendant] wished he'd given up preaching instead because the Jack Daniel Distillery was eventually worth tens of millions of dollars," Krass writes. While Krass's research is ample, the book often gets bogged down in historical minutiae, and at times the reader wishes for a more charismatic star of the show than the somewhat dour Daniel. But witnessing the maturation of his namesake company—not to mention the maturation of the U.S. as it confronts slavery, the Civil War and the temperance movement—is engrossing. Fans of the whiskey will be happy to hear the alleged real story behind the Old No. 7 that adorns each bottle, and anyone can appreciate the classic American characters sprinkled throughout the text, including the richly monikered Eph Grizzard, Beauregard Beam and Lemuel Motlow.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

The author traces the Daniel family lineage from Scotland and Ireland to rural Tennessee, and Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel’s rise from hardscrabble youth to a dandy gent with a love of horses, fine clothes and women, a colleague of J.P. Morgan’s and one of the most famous spirits producers in the world. Orphaned at 15, Jack discovered a whiskey still on the property of his longtime neighbor and new guardian, Dan Call, and his interest in distilling booze was born. Krass (Carnegie) details the early business partnership between Call and Daniel and their eventual split, as Call forces himself to choose between preaching and making whiskey. “One Call [descendant] wished he’d given up preaching instead because the Jack Daniel Distillery was eventually worth tens of millions of dollars,” Krass writes. While Krass’s research is ample, the book often gets bogged down in historical minutiae, and at times the reader wishes for a more charismatic star of the show than the somewhat dour Daniel. But witnessing the maturation of his namesake company—not to mention the maturation of the U.S. as it confronts slavery, the Civil War and the temperance movement—is engrossing. Fans of the whiskey will be happy to hear the alleged real story behind the Old No. 7 that adorns each bottle, and anyone can appreciate the classic American characters sprinkled throughout the text, including the richly monikered Eph Grizzard, Beauregard Beam and Lemuel Motlow. Agent, Ed Knappman. (May) (Publishers Weekly, April 12th, 2004) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Castle Books (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785822615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785822615
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. User on December 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a well written, detailed description of not only Jack Daniel's life,but also the times in which he grew up. Krass did a great job of weaving the history of American whiskey making and it's Scottish (and Scots-Irish) roots through rich fabric of Mr. Daniel's story. A great testimony to ingenuity, self sufficiency, independent spirit and enterpreneurship. A quick and enjoyable read. History in narrative form. Makes me want to read more of Mr. Krass' work. As an added bonus, I now know how Old No.7 got its name!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William J. Higgins,III on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A double shot of a biography on whiskey magnate Jack Daniel with hard-work and determination as the foundation to his life and principles.
Born in the mid-1800's and orphaned at the age of fifteen, JD immediately found himself working in a local Tennessee distillery manufacturing some of the highest quality spirits in the region from men who were the best in the business. He was known as the boy distiller.
In his early twenties, he had the opportunity to partnership with his mentor and the rest as they say is history.
It was not easy though. For decades he battled revenuers, the government, corrupt officials, temperance groups and later the prohibition movement. Even with these many adversities throughout his life, philanthropy was his middle name.
Peter Krass has uncorked an imbibing read of a unique man and the times in which he lived.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Thomas on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Great reading for history buffs relating facts about the people, cities, politics involving the making of whiskey. The town of Lynchburg, Tennessee with the whiskey distillery is still very much active today 9-11-2009 as I visited this historical town in August of this year. Jack Daniels appeared to be a very good relative and neighbor helping each. Good interesting reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fedoradude on October 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'd first read this book about 5 years ago. Recently took it off my shelf to reread. I'd forgotten what an interesting, well-written story this is. Lots of history of Jack's family, the culture of the Tennessee hill country in which he was raised, the history of corn whiskey making and how he got involved in it and built his mega-empire product.

I think this was a very worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in Jack Daniels and/or the Lynchburg, TN area.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay A. Kacena on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one who enjoys the products of the Jack Daniel Distillery I find this history fascinating. As a devoted Tennessee Squire I use the information from this book, along with knowledge gained in my visits to "the hollow" to spread the gospel about this great American story.
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Format: Hardcover
As an avid fan of both the Jack Daniel's brand and its various products, I was looking very much forward to reading Blood & Whiskey; having just completed said reading, I am left feeling unfulfilled and a little perturbed by various aspects of the author's writing style and substance. Part of the premise of the writing of this book is the author's encounters with numerous folks who have asked him whether or not there was a Jack Daniel. This, as the opening line of the book, troubled me as Jack Daniel is arguably the most recognizable face in whiskey.

With a dearth of documentation regarding Jack Daniel, there is a consequently low number of resources for anyone interested in learning more about the legendary distiller. As such, Mr. Krass' effort represents a great opportunity for fans of the brand but it fails ultimately to deliver for a few key reasons. Most glaringly is Mr. Krass' inconsistency in presenting Jack Daniel, his brand, and those related to it. The hallmark of a great biographer is objectivity in terms of tone and content; Mr. Krass fails to deliver the former while vacillating greatly with the latter.

Given the author's self-proclaimed love of the whiskey in question, I mistakenly assumed that Mr. Krass' viewpoint would be favorable as it pertains to the Jack Daniel brand. Instead, it varied wildly between moments of blatant pomposity (particularly when the author references living residents of Lynchburg and their speech patterns) and of trite condescension (especially with a brief discussion of the Tennessee Squires in which the author references the group's communications as being, "...corny but well-meaning" and embodying a, "...folksy tone [that] is ubiquitous"). Regarding the company's marketing efforts, Mr. Krass regards them as featuring, "...
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