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A History of the World in 6 Glasses Paperback – May 16, 2006
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
A History of the World in Six Glasses is much more than just a history of six beverages. It is history as it should be written (and taught).
Well it is this kind of book that drives that knowledge. Standage has created a very enjoyable, brisk read that is definately for fun and to load up on fun facts.
By telling the world's history in six glasses (see below) Standage covers alot of ground and sure he misses alot, but its still fun non-the less.
1) Beer -- a basis for why people replaced hunting with farming
2) Wine -- the civilizer of Greece and Rome
3) Hard Spirits -- slavery, the American Revolution
4) Tea -- the life sustainer and improver
5) Coffee -- the fuel for the enlightenment
6) Cola -- particularly Coca-cola the expression of cultural dominance.
Sure you have heard some of these stories before, but this book presents history in a fun and entertaining light. So when you go to order your next beer know that you are engaging in high civilization even in a sports bar.
As I first started looking at this book I was reminded of James Burke and his 'Connections.' Like Burke, Mr. Standage looks at the six (well maybe seven) drinks that basically were a technology that changed history.
To illustrate this I'll talk about only one of his drinks -- Beer. Beer probably began as some leftover cooked grain, perhaps the kids morning cereal, was left outside in the rain. Soaking in water, it turned into malt. Wild yeast fell into the mix, and in a few days the result was beer. While I'd bet it was foul tasting beer, it was the only alcoholic beverage around.
OK, so you have beer, how does this mean anything? Well, to get more beer, you need more grain. To get more grain you basically move from being a hunter-gatherer to a farmer. You also need the ancillary technologies of pottery to make and store the product. If you have beer, and your neighbors have food, perhaps you can make a trade. Expand on this and you have a need for writing, for record keeping, for accounting. And with accounting can the tax people be far behind? And that's not all. No pathogen lives through the brewing process, so all of a sudden you have a beverage that's safe to drink, cutting down on illnesses. Think about all that the next time you sip a brew.
Surprisingly, a lot of the glasses Mr. Standage talks about have this same factor of sterilizing the water, thereby cutting down on disease.
A delightful book, now if we can only get it made into a TV series.
Beer, for instance, gave us history itself. The workers who built the pyramids were paid in beer, and Egyptians would greet each other with the phrase "Bread and beer," a genial wish for prosperity. The pictures of Egyptians enjoying their beer show them doing it together, using straws communally inserted into a big jar of beer; using straws kept the floating stuff at the top from being ingested. Wine, by contrast, was the drink of the elite ever since it spread through ancient Greece. It is remarkable that thousands of years later, though the categories have merged somewhat, beer has remained the working man's everyday drink while wine has remained an exotic, fit for connoisseurship and social differentiation. Rum was "The world's first global drink" and a key part of the slave trade as well as of the American drive to independence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great buy for my college bound student needing to fulfill his summer reading requirementPublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book - not what you think it's about. Lots of history & interesting informationPublished 13 days ago by L Ellison
This book had an interesting take on history, but I ad difficulty in getting into it. It seems like straight lecture materialsPublished 21 days ago by Valerie Lober
Overall, I liked this book. It was loaded with information about how the six drinks played key roles in world history. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Richard W. Hudson