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Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol Paperback – May 5, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592404642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592404643
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the same ambitious sweep and needle-in-history's-haystack approach of his previous tome on tobacco, Gately takes on all things alcohol. From absinthe to Jay-Z's boycott of allegedly racist Cristal, from Mayan pulque to Pilsner Urquell, he covers the history and the culture of the medicinal and mind-altering product that since at least 8000 B.C. has been part of human civilization. The book's first chapters chronicle the history of fermentation and distillation from early civilization through the late Middle Ages, before the narrative's bulk gives over to alcohol's story since the colonization of the New World. Gately touches on such minutiae as the tableware and music selections onboard the expedition ships that followed Raleigh to America and an exacting chronology of laws enacted to ban the sale of alcohol to Indians. He ecumenically includes historical information from every civilized continent; yet for a book on booze, it's at first drier than straight gin, definitely for those who like their history neat. Like a good party, however, it becomes livelier as the author works in such far-flung cultural materials as the plays of Alfred Jarry and Budweiser's '80s mascot, Spuds McKenzie. In the end, Gately ranges so wide and deep that this may become a classic reference on the subject. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Following his earlier treatise on tobacco, historian Gately focuses on another of humanity’s consuming passions: alcoholic beverages. Beginning with classical civilizations, he traces the rise of vintner, brewer, and distiller, whose demand for fruits, grains, and new markets helped fuel the expansion of empires. Gately contrasts Christianity’s intimate embrace of the fruit of the vine with Islam’s absolute rejection of intoxicating libations. European explorers carted wines over oceans only to discover that New World civilizations had already concocted their own sophisticated and highly drinkable spirits. Rum became inextricably bound with slave trading, and mass production and undisciplined consumption of whiskey and gin threatened to unravel the social fabric of newly industrialized European and American economies. Governments adopted different strategies for dealing with alcohol abuse, ranging from regulation of the opening hours of public houses to outright prohibition. A grand, always engaging survey of the role of booze in both cultural and social history. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lola092563 on September 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you drink, ever wonder why? How did humans figure out how to create alcohol? Why don't people enjoy drinking grape juice as much as wine? How did it become a social thing? All these questions, and many more, are pondered and answered in this informative and interesting book. A good sociological examination as to why people drink, how they drink, why they drink what they do and why it's been viewed favorably by some cultures in history and unfavorably by others. As someone who is always fascinated by learning how humans tick and how we've changed through history - I found this book both relaxing (a good non controversial read) and thought provoking.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Krueger on August 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was very well written, and was a real pleasure to read. I like books like this that intertwine facts with historical anecdotes. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the cultural history of alcohol.

This book is quite long, but I never wanted to put it down. I think Iain Gately's writing style helps keep the book moving.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rocco on June 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book will create a new appreciation of alcohol in the reader. It is a wonderful history and cultural reference. Looking at the importance of alcohol throughout history makes one realize how intertwined drinking was to peoples' lives, as well as how drinking influenced historical events. It has an integral place in many cultures and commemorates special occasions and brings people together. I will keep this book and read it again, and I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jake W. Henry on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well researched and engaging book. I carried it around with me while i was reading it, and had many conversations with people who noticed it.
I would have liked more about microbreweries, but thats another book in itself i suppose.
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By Rosalie K. Doss on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this book because I am not only in the healthcare business,but alcohol is such a large part of American life,but has become such a problem in the higher learning institutions,of this country.This book is human,and informative,and I would advise anyone to read this book.
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