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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
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on February 13, 2018
The best book I read all year. It fully describes the history, economics, politics, processes, taste, and recipes for rum. It is extremely well written and as exciting as reading a mystery thriller. The only thing lacking are illustration, of which the book could use a few, especially on the historical equipment, etc. A highly recommended book. I ended up buy a book on cognac after this just to get a full understanding.
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on August 21, 2017
Love the book! The history of Rum and cocktails made for a very interesting read. Wayne has great way of telling the stories with a rum sense of humor. He's just a few bottles short of being pirate. The rum drinkers will understand it well. The only downside of reading this book is your going to want to try most of the drink recipes listed in the book.

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on July 4, 2014
A very enjoyable book, though for me, it started a little slowly. But after a chapter or two, I was hooked. As the subtitle suggests, author Curtis doesn't just present a history of rum, though this is covered in admirable detail, but interweaves the story of rum with the concomitant history of the U.S., the West Indies, and even Europe to some degree, from the 17th century onward. Mr. Curtis is adept at describing the connections between the spirits trade, patriotism, slavery, and other seemingly disparate topics, while correcting myths and dubious assertions. Readers are treated to the alcoholic origins of many curious customs and expressions, such as "at loggerheads." Students of history, philology and/or libations will likely find "And a Bottle of Rum" quite to their taste.
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on November 6, 2016
An extremely interesting read. I very much enjoyed the author's use of anecdote to convey history in a more entertaining way than just giving facts and figures. However, I will say that a lot of the anecdotes seemed to be based more on the authors imagination than actual history. Sentences about the historical figures' thoughts and feelings are almost undoubtedly Mr. Curtis's own interpretation and not backed in research. In several instances, the reader gets the sense that Mr. Curtis is conveniently using these kinds of historical liberties to skew perceptions and alter the gravity of the quantitative source material (whether to make the fact more or less significant).

Overall, it is an entertaining and informative read. I high suggest this book.
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on August 18, 2010
Just a great book on the history of Rum and it's place int he new world. From the development of rum as a use for the waste molasses in the Caribbean to the Mojito craze of the 1980's. Wayne Curtis does a fine job of taking you through the history of Rum and introduces you to many of people who shaped it's path along the way, by dividing eras of rum history into the favorite rum cocktail of that age. I found the book to be both very interesting and informative. Kind of like a fun to read history book that involved one of my favorite distilled spirits. If you are a fan of rum and want to know more about it, or you are just interested in the history of America's first national spirit then I believe you will really enjoy this book.
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on December 4, 2017
Enjoyed this book. I like learning history from a different perspective and this book delivers. I liked the authors style - serious and funny - not at all a stuffy history book.
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on October 1, 2017
I enjoyed the book, learned a lot from it.
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on July 7, 2010
It's not often that one book can manage to be all three: funny, fascinating, and informative. In fact, this book makes me think that we really don't understand early American history all that well, although our knowledge is growing daily.

For example, why did Columbus wind up in the Caribbean, not in Virginia? Columbus was, of course, the pioneer, but the trans-Atlantic route became a Known Thing in short order: leave Europe and sail SOUTH to African waters, then cross the Atlantic in the tropical latitudes (winding up in the Caribbean). For the trip home, sail your loaded boat north to the area of Virginia, and then cross back to Europe. It was a rectangular journey. As the trade developed, ships would load up with goodies for the New World, head south to Africa (and maybe load some slaves, alas!), sail over to the Caribbean, unload slaves, load rum, and then sell the rum in North America (probably for tobacco), and then home, loaded to the gills with lumber and tobacco. Follow the Gulf Stream, and stray no more!

But we mustn't overlook that one tiny detail: load up with rum in the Caribbean, and carry it north to the future USA. Rum quickly became America's favorite drink: cheap, and intoxicating.

But where did it come from? Well, rum was the unlooked-for child of the sugar industry, which created some of the largest fortunes of its times. This book recounts an amazing, funny story of King George III, out for a ride in his gorgeous carriage with its glorious outriders --- who was almost run off the road by a much larger and more splendid carriage. "Who was that man?!" spluttered the King, only to be informed that it was a multi-millionaire sugar trader. The King whirled around to his Minister, and said, "Take a note! Investigate taxes on sugar!"

These ultra-rich Englishmen finally convinced Parliament to pass the Sugar Act --- to protect their massive incomes --- and this was the first time Americans actually got the British Government to change something. Massive cheating and smuggling forced the British to lower the tax to a mere penny --- and Americans learned that they had some power in the world. When Parliament passed the noxious Stamp Act, the result was the Boston Tea Party, and we all know where THAT led!

But who woulda guessed that rum (?!) played such an important role in American independence?

That's just a taste of the stuff in this wonderful book. If you're interested in history, I can't recommend anything higher (no that's not a pun!)

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on July 30, 2015
I don't drink very often, but when I do I like to have a well-prepared Cuba Libre or something else that uses rum. I knew that one of the first real factories in what-was-to-become the United States was a rum distillery, but this terrific book is full of all kinds of interesting stories about rum and its connections to our culture. The story of how the rum-and-Coke came to be was especially interesting: I didn't know that rum was kind of a second-rate spirit for most of its life. I think this book will be appreciated by anyone interested in the nation's cultural history.
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on March 6, 2014
I bought this book for my husband as a small Valentine's Day present. He is a huge lover of rum and anything having to do with the ocean or the beach. He should have been born a pirate! When he opened the box, he was really surprised to see a book (I never buy him books..I am the reader in the family). Once he started to look through it, he kept saying how cool it was. So, I guess I did good.
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