Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages Paperback – December 17, 2010
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"McGovern's delving, detailed in this fascinating book, leaves little doubt that humans are born drinkers."--"New Scientist"
"(A) magnificent study, skillfully written and well illustrated."--"Choice"
"Highly informative and challenging."--"California Grapevine"
"A remarkable book, both erudite and entertaining."--"Gastronomica"
"In this engaging book, Patrick McGovern gives us a world tour of the origins of alcoholic beverages."--John Gava"Law Society Journal" (11/01/2011)
In this engaging book, Patrick McGovern gives us a world tour of the origins of alcoholic beverages. --John Gava"Law Society Journal" (11/01/2011)"
From the Inside Flap
"Fascinating, wide-ranging and erudite. When it comes to ancient beverages, Patrick McGovern is the dean of the subject."Tom Standage, author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity
In Uncorking the Past, Patrick E. McGovern charts the enchantment of human beings with alcoholic beverages from their initial discoveries of fermented honey, fruits, and grains to the perfection of elaborate means for producing, storing, transporting, and consuming treasured spirits. McGovern's gaze is truly global, spanning all the continents, but it is also microscopic, penetrating to neural pathways, genes, and molecules. This is a story told with verve and passion, yet one that is endlessly entertaining and highly informative.”Victor H. Mair, co-author (with Erling Hoh) of The True History of Tea
An eminently accessible, sweeping, and thought-provoking history of fermented alcohol.”Max Nelson, author of The Barbarian's Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe
Top Customer Reviews
As the book concludes, summing up the theme, "our species' intimate relationship with fermented beverages over millions of years has, in large measure, made us what we are today."
Being neither an archeologist nor a paleontologist, I found some of the copious detail presented in this book to be tough sledding. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating read and worth the effort.
For any student of the human condition, of the development of ritual and religion, of the emergence of humanity from our earliest hominid ancestors - and certainly for any thoughtful devotee of wine or beer, I highly recommend Uncorking The Past.
One important point is that he argues that at least some of the grains that can be turned into beer were not domesticated for food but because of their alcohol-making potential. Maize for example (we Americans call it corn) has sugars that can be made into alcohol. This may seem a wild theory, but he makes a good case for the hypothesis.
He has gotten microbreweries interested in using ancient "recipes" to see what the stuff tastes like. The book is full of odd facts such as that gthe Egyptian workers on the Pyramids had daily rations of 2 to 3 loaves of bread and 4 to 5 liters of beer. Beer of course would have been a rather nutritious food and likely the water was impure.
Our world is awash in alcohol. In 2003, some 150 billion liters of beer, 27 billion liters of wine, and 2 billion liters of distilled spirits (mainly vodka) were produced worldwide. (That’s the official total and does not take into account any illegal production or that which was produced by the increasingly popular production by home brewers and vintners, for which I am one.) This would equal about 8 billion liters of pure alcohol and is around 20% of the world’s total ethanol production. The other 10% and 70%, respectively, constitute the industrial and burgeoning “biofuel” ethanol. So opens the latest massive work on fermentation history by Patrick E. McGovern.
McGovern is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Aside from the doubtless mountains of paperwork, incessant fundraising, and other administrative duties, this sounds like my dream job. Additionally, Dr. McGovern is known worldwide as the authority on the history of fermentation.
Historically, peoples of nearly every ethnic group and in every region, save the coldest climes where plants do not produce enough sugars to ferment, have produced fermented beverages. Naturally fermented beverages are quite healthy, especially if unfiltered as the yeast present provides a tremendous amount of protein in addition to the other vitamins and nutrients. Indeed, the alcohol itself is a ready source of carbohydrates and our the human liver is specially equipped to metabolize alcohol, with about 10 percent of its enzymes (including alcohol dehydrogenase) devoted to generating energy from alcohol.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent as expected. As per recommendation from another book.Published 11 months ago by Robert J. Miller
Patrick McGovern is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Read morePublished 17 months ago by P. Mulloy
Loved it! Great insight into the history of beer, wine and many other beverages. If you're interests include fermented drinks and history you'll enjoy this book.Published on May 19, 2014 by Amazon Customer
This is a really great, comprehensive discussion of ancient brewing in different time periods, geographic locales and cultural contexts. It's well-written and entertaining. Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by Arqueologa
May explain how and why civilizations came to be. An interesting read even if you are non wine drinking Mormon.Published on May 10, 2013 by George