10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Proceed With Caution,
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This review is from: Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 (Paperback)
If I could have, I would have given this 2-1/2 stars -- but I couldn't really give it three. This is a period of history and a topic I have studied at some length, and while there were some interesting facts and solid quotes, there are enough errors that I would never consider picking anything up to use in a lecture without checking at least one other source. A couple of examples: he attributes the Coffey still to Andreas Coffey, but it's Aeneas Coffey. Kind of an amateur mistake. More problematic is the author's snarkiness in many places, which is compounded by being wrong -- such as when he quotes a satirical poem by William Cowper, stating that the poem demonstrates Cowper's approval of slavery (or, as the author states it, "he struggled with his conscience and lost"). Cowper was an abolitionist who wrote the satirical poem at the request of William Wilberforce -- the man who fought slavery his whole life and eventually got slavery banned throughout the British empire. To have attributed to Cowper a pro-slavery stance based on this satire (which laments that one would have to live without sugar and rum if slavery were ended) makes me wonder how many other things he may have misinterpreted.
So I'd suggest that, if you really know this topic and want some new facts (though you'd want to double check them), this is a good source, especially of lengthy quotes from a handful of early rum and Caribbean historians. However, if you only care enough to read one book, I'd definitely recommend William Curtis's "And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails" over this book -- it's more accurate and it's a much more entertaining read.
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Initial post: Jul 14, 2014 11:37:32 PM PDT
J. F. Bridges says:
Thanks to a reviewer who brings an educated background to her critique. Thanks!
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