The Washington Post
Drink: A Cultural History of Alcoholby Iain Gately
In Drink, journalist Iain Gately traces the course of humanity's ten-thousand-year-old love affair with alcohol, the substance that has been dubbed "the cause of - and solution to-all of life's problems." Along the way he scrutinizes the drinking habits of presidents, prophets, and barbarian hordes, and features drinkers as diverse as Homer, Hemingway, Shakespeare,
In Drink, journalist Iain Gately traces the course of humanity's ten-thousand-year-old love affair with alcohol, the substance that has been dubbed "the cause of - and solution to-all of life's problems." Along the way he scrutinizes the drinking habits of presidents, prophets, and barbarian hordes, and features drinkers as diverse as Homer, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Al Capone, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Covering matters as varied as bacchanals in Imperial Rome, the gin craze in seventeenth-century London, the rise and fall of the temperance movement, and drunk driving, Drink details the benefits and burdens alcohol has conveyed to the societies in which it is consumed. Gately's lively and provocative style brings to life the controversies, past and present, that have raged over alcohol, and uses the authentic voices of drinkers and their detractors to expose myths and reveal truths about this most equivocal of fluids.
A rollicking tour through humanity's love affair with alcohol, Drink is an intoxicating history of civilization.
The Washington Post
With the same ambitious sweep and needle-in-history's-haystack approach of his previous tome on tobacco, Gately takes on all things alcohol. From absinthe to Jay-Z's boycott of allegedly racist Cristal, from Mayan pulque to Pilsner Urquell, he covers the history and the culture of the medicinal and mind-altering product that since at least 8000 B.C. has been part of human civilization. The book's first chapters chronicle the history of fermentation and distillation from early civilization through the late Middle Ages, before the narrative's bulk gives over to alcohol's story since the colonization of the New World. Gately touches on such minutiae as the tableware and music selections onboard the expedition ships that followed Raleigh to America and an exacting chronology of laws enacted to ban the sale of alcohol to Indians. He ecumenically includes historical information from every civilized continent; yet for a book on booze, it's at first drier than straight gin, definitely for those who like their history neat. Like a good party, however, it becomes livelier as the author works in such far-flung cultural materials as the plays of Alfred Jarry and Budweiser's '80s mascot, Spuds McKenzie. In the end, Gately ranges so wide and deep that this may become a classic reference on the subject. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For thousands of years, the world has both celebrated and cursed alcohol. In his latest breezily entertaining book, Gately, who has also written about another addictive substance in Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization, writes about both the beneficial and the detrimental effects alcohol has had on society while giving readers a concise, chronological history of alcohol throughout time and across the globe. Readers needing a basic overview of the general subject of alcohol should be satisfied with Gately's book, but researchers requiring a more detailed history about specific alcoholic beverages such as wine will need to find other books such as Thomas Pinney's A History of Wine in America or Roderick Phillips's A Short History of Wine to be more useful. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"This is a book to be read with pleasure, best sipped in leisure like good bourbon."
-Dallas Morning News
British author Iain Gately calls alcohol the "equivocal liquid," and his exploration of our love-hate relationship with it is "by turns entertaining, inspiring, sobering, informative and simply fascinating," writes reviewer Janice Kennedy in the Ottawa Citizen. As he did with Tobacco, his earlier cultural history, Gately offers what amounts to nothing less than a history of human civilization. From the archeological evidence of fermented potables in northern China nearly 10,000 years ago to the notion that American rap culture has been the salvation of France's champagne and cognac industries with its taste for both pricey libations, Drink covers it all: the colour, comedy, catastrophe and controversy. Reviewer Kennedy concludes that "the book is bursting (or should that be overflowing?) with scrupulously researched facts, statistics, historical events and marvellous anecdotes, all of it just as scrupulously acknowledged in endnotes. But the wonder of it is its immense readability." Buy it.
- The National Post (Canada)
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.54(w) x 9.16(h) x 1.72(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 - 14 Years
Meet the Author
Iain Gately is the author of Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Raise in Hong Kong, he studied law at Cambridge University and worked in the financial markets of London, where he currently lives.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
An excellent book filled with interesting facts and explanations. Especially good for a history buff.