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Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey Hardcover – October 1, 2016
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No matter how it is served--in mint juleps, manhattans, neat, or on the rocks--bourbon has long been enjoyed across the American and global landscapes. A unique descendant from early Irish and Scotch whiskeys, bourbon became a distinctly American whiskey with the use of a high-corn mash bill and charred oak barrels. Here, Minnick details the rich history of bourbon by illustrating its intricately complex impact on American social and political realms from rebellions to laws to the myriad ad campaigns promoting this seductive liquor. Minnick's engaging text is even further illuminated by the introductions to the people and distilleries that played a part in what bourbon is today. Numerous images and informative sidebars throughout along with a bibliography and index are included to further the reader's education and enjoyment of all things bourbon. -- Becca Smith, Booklist
"Drinking bourbon is great, but when you know how much history is in that glass of brown liquid, it raises the level of appreciation. This book is a must read for any bourbon fan and history buff." --AdventuresInWhiskey.com
"Minnick takes the reader on a freewheeling, informative and, at times, scholarly and chronological trip through the history of this intoxicating liquor, which is most associated with the beautiful Bluegrass State, since more than 90 percent of bourbon produced comes from Kentucky." -- Red Dirt Report
"Kentuckian Fred Minnick is a little bit obsessed with whiskey -- this makes his third book on the topic. It's a comprehensive history of America's homegrown spirit, beginning with a list of the 18th-century distillers who might have invented bourbon and continuing through the spirit's commercial success in the 1800s, the horror of Prohibition and efforts to rebuild the category afterward, and finally today's bourbon renaissance. It's an entertaining and fast-moving read, full of vintage photos and archival ads that make the story come to life." -- Playboy.com
From the Author
"The book is a visual delight, sprinkled with hundreds of photos, side stories and Fast Facts ("In a 1921 American Medical Association survey, 51 percent of US physicians were in favor of prescribing whiskey."). You can ingest the book cover-to-cover or skip around, reading one day about the World War II "War on Slop" - distiller slang for grains left over from distillation - and the next day learning how terms like "bourbon" and "distiller" evolved." -- Wine Buzz
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1. The first part of the book attempts to reveal the individual who first created bourbon. The longer Minnick presents his various cases, the more I felt the topic was irrelevant. Rather than focus on a potential who, it would've been far more interesting had he focused on the hows and whys of the nascent industry.
2. The majority of the rest of the book shows a lot of solid research. It is packed with facts and other historical data, but does little to personalize a personality-heavy industry. More background on ours Lee Brown, a giant in the industry, would have been colorful. Pappy Van Winkle's story also makes for great reading, but was sorely lacking.
3. The last part of the book, which Chronicles Bourbons fall and rebirth, is the best part of the book. Gone are the dry numbers and constant discussions of various tax schemes, and the reader can enjoy find it tales about scrappy brands and larger than life master distillers. It's a shame more of the book was not written in this vein.
Also I don't care for the mini reads that take up 2-3 pages in the middle of a chapter, put that stuff out of the way so they don't break into the flow of the reading.
I enjoyed it and have already recommended it to friends.