A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

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Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece, wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe, they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization. For Tom Standage, each drink is a different kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite beverage the same way again.
Publisher: New York : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers
New York : Walker & Co.
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9781452621494
Branch Call Number: eAUDIO OVERDRI
Characteristics: audio file
1 sound file : digital
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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danielestes
Oct 04, 2017

This book reminds me of another favorite of mine, Last Call by Daniel Okrent. That one's about Prohibition. Both books share the not-too-surprising theme that drinking is as much a part of human history as war and sex. Apparently drinking is so intertwined with our primal urges that, as A History of the World in 6 Glasses recounts, any fluctuation in the commerce of beverages has the potential to literally caused revolutions.

The 6 glasses from the title are beer, wine, spirits et al, tea, coffee and Coca-Cola. It would seem that civilization, at any point in its history, either needs a pick-me-up or is looking to take the edge off.

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gabrielcdg
Jul 01, 2017

A very interesting book on the most common drinks in the world and how they helped to shape culture, history, politics and economies. Well written but not long winded.

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