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Alcoholica Esoterica: A Collection of Useful and Useless Information As It Relates to the History andC onsumption of All Manner of Booze Paperback – September 27, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ian Lendler is the author of An Undone Fairy Tale and coauthor of Chelsea Clinton’s Freshman Notebook. The former humor editor for IndiePlanet.com, in 2000 he co-founded the humor Web site Freedonian.com, which was featured in Time Out New York, Gear Magazine, and on CNN.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035978
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Alcoholica Esoterica offers the dish on every type of spirit in the liquor cabinet, from absinthe to vodka, and in "Mount Lushmore" assembles a Drunkards' Hall of Fame that enshrines Dean Martin, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Parker, Humphrey Bogart and Winston Churchill. The book's shape -- 4 by 8 inches -- makes it easy to remove from a back pocket while parked on a bar stool. But Lendler recognizes the danger: He warns readers they could turn into Cliff Clavin, the trivia-spouting mailman of TV's "Cheers." "I learned tons of interesting anecdotes and facts" while researching the book, Lendler writes. "I was the nightmare of every party."

His book is loaded with bar-bet-ready snippets of infotainment. Did you know, for instance, that folks back in the day boozed so often because water was fetid and alcohol killed the germs? Or that Johnny Appleseed was traipsing through the 18th-century wilderness planting apple trees to be "used for one reason and one reason only -- to make hard cider"? These tidbits are habit-forming. One is too many and a dozen aren't enough."
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Format: Paperback
"A ridiculously entertaining collection of alcohol-related facts and tidbits, gathered together and chuckled over by Ian Lendler.

In this wry book of alcoholic anecdotes, Lendler covers significant ground in the Land of Booze. One moment he tenders a neat little bar trick-drop a raisin in a glass of champagne and it will circulate in perpetual motion from the bottom of the glass to the top and back again-then delivers, still in a jazzy tone, a compact history of fortified wines. There are vest-pocket profiles of giants he would carve on Mount Lushmore-W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, Dorothy Parker, Winston Churchill-and scads of useless information to while away happy hour: how many berries, herbs, roots and flowers are required for making vermouth; the origin of the word "binge"; why Oktoberfest is called Oktoberfest even though it's celebrated in September; and some profoundly disturbing hangover-cure hokum, such as ground swallow's beaks in myrrh (ancient Assyria) and rubbing half a lemon in the pit of your drinking arm (Puerto Rico).

Raise a glass to Lendler, then grab the nearest person you can find and reel off a few tidbits from this collection of gloriously mirthful arcana. "
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Format: Paperback
Alright, sorry for the bad pun, but this is a very funny book. The bartender at my local pub was reading this and I joined it. I didn't know half this stuff. I especially loved the part about the brewery in england in the 1800's that built the biggest beer vat ever seen. Too bad it burst and sent a wall of beer down the street wiping out buildings and people too!

i totally recomend this.
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Format: Paperback
The book is interesting but full of errors. It's as though the author used references meant for children. He has nothing good to say about drinking. Anyone who drinks in this book - even Winston Churchill - is lambasted as a fool who could not control themselves. Lendler marvels at how booze killed people. According to him, all early liquor tasted like mud and all later liquor at some point was made with turpentine. Gin might be his strongest chapter - he keeps returning to it - but instead of explaining that the English were accustomed to heavy beers that served as food, and poverty and disease wracked the countryside after the landowners started building modern enclosures instead of having common pastureland he basically continues to say that all English are natural alcoholics. He's not nearly as hard on the Russians in the Vodka chapter. All in all I suppose the errors are forgivable. They're the sort that regular people would not recognize and real history nerds would quickly forgive. Just don't use the book to write a college paper.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift and he LOVED it. I've bought my boyfriend just about every fact and useless knowledge book I could find and then I came across this one and thought what the heck and he loves it. I may be regretting getting him the book for only one reason...because I have to constantly hear "hey, did you know.....":-) but he loves it so it was money well spent.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a highly entertaining collection of brief, oversimplified and amusing (sometimes incorrect) facts about alcohol. A bathroom reader if I ever saw one. If that's what you're looking for then by all means buy this.
But do take his advice seriously, drink while you read it so that you won't notice the typos (e.g. "There are a number of theories explaining why we clink glasses with our companions before taking the first sip but there are a number of theories." pg 11). Also, if you are looking for something that will actually inform you about the history of alcohol then look elsewhere. This book got a few facts wrong in the very first pages and continued to do so throughout. Finally, the ink was printed very thin on several pages making it difficult to read at times.

In short: a fun, light book. Buy it on sale.
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Format: Paperback
This was a fun book to read and reread from cover to cover. Each chapter was entertaining and informative with interesting tid-bits, historical caveats, and famous quotes. If you want to impress (or bore) your friends with seldom-known facts or off-the-wall stories about their favorite drink, then buy this book. This book is the best accompiament to a good dram of single malt scotch.
Cheers!
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