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23 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing at best, despite good intentions
on August 21, 2006
As soon as I heard about this book in a wine newsletter, I ordered it from Amazon. As a Ph.D. student with an interest in markets of all kinds and a lover of wine, I had tremendous hopes for this book.
Though the first few chapters on the origins of the wine trade held my attention, rarely did I find the anecdotes and bits of trivia that I had hoped to share with friends over a bottle or two. The book reads like a high school history book, which would be fine if the writing flowed smoothly and made the less-than-exciting content easy to absorb. Though I make no claim of being a great writer, I found the writing style extremely distracting, almost to the point of making the book unreadable. The overuse of cliches and the awkwardness of sentences is so prevalent that I caught myself counting how many consecutive paragraphs contained some hackneyed phrase or a sentence with a semicolon, and had to go back and reread a page or two.
When I ordered this book, I would have been delighted with either of two things: a light, summer read that would move quickly and provide a nice break from my school reading, or an in-depth history of the wine business that I could use as a reference for a future paper about the economics of the wine industry. Unfortunately, the book is neither. The poor quality of the writing (changing of verb tenses, incorrect use of gerunds, etc...) makes the book an effort to get through, and one that any college-level writing teacher would have a field day attacking with a red pen. And though I have no problem struggling through a difficult book if the payoff is a thorough understanding of the topic, after finishing this book I was left with the emtpy feeling that I knew little more about the history of wine business than I had before reading it.