Spirits Of America: A Social History Of Alcohol [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Thousands of years ago, before Christ or Buddha or Muhammad...before the Roman Empire rose or the Colossus of Rhodes fell," Eric Burns writes, "people in Asia Minor were drinking beer." So begins an account as entertaining as it is extensive, of alcohol's journey through world-and, more important, American-history.

In The Spirits of America, Burns relates that drinking was "the first national pastime," and shows how it shaped American politics and culture from the earliest colonial days. He details the ...
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Spirits Of America: A Social History Of Alcohol

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Overview

"Thousands of years ago, before Christ or Buddha or Muhammad...before the Roman Empire rose or the Colossus of Rhodes fell," Eric Burns writes, "people in Asia Minor were drinking beer." So begins an account as entertaining as it is extensive, of alcohol's journey through world-and, more important, American-history.

In The Spirits of America, Burns relates that drinking was "the first national pastime," and shows how it shaped American politics and culture from the earliest colonial days. He details the transformation of alcohol from virtue to vice and back again, how it was thought of as both scourge and medicine. He tells us how "the great American thirst" developed over the centuries, and how reform movements and laws (some of which, Burn s says, were "comic masterpieces of the legislator's art") sprang up to combat it. Burns brings back to life such vivid characters as Carrie Nation and other crusaders against drink. He informs us that, in the final analysis, Prohibition, the culmination of the reformers' quest, had as much to do with politics and economics and geography as it did with spirituous beverage.

Filled with the famous, the infamous, and the undeservedly anonymous, The Spirits of America is a masterpiece of the historian's art. It will stand as a classic chronicle-witty, perceptive, and comprehensive-of how this country was created by and continues to be shaped by its everchanging relationship to the cocktail shaker and the keg.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The host of Fox News Channel's Fox News Watch, Burns (The Joy of Books; Broadcast Blues) presents an enjoyable and informative examination of the role of alcoholic beverages in American society. "Thousands of years ago, before Christ or Buddha or Muhammad, before the Roman Empire rose or the Colossus of Rhodes fell, people in Asia Minor were drinking beer." After a brief tour of alcohol in history, Burns sets out to detail the role that intoxicating beverages have played in the development of American history. From Colonial America's huge consumption of alcohol (George Washington and James Madison both lost elections early in their careers by failing to provide enough free liquor to voters) to a detailed look at the temperance movement (figures like the "Queen of Hachetation," Carry A. Nation, and other colorful teetotalers), the botched experiment of Prohibition, and alcohol in modern America, Burns provides plenty of information in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner. Unlike Griffith Edwards's Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug, this book just examines alcohol in history; no mention is made of the medical or psychological effects of America's love-hate affair with alcohol. While not scholarly in tone, Burns's book will be useful for undergraduate academic libraries and may find an audience in public libraries as well.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592137695
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/2004
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 502 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Burns
Eric Burns is the host of "Fox News Watch" on the Fox News Channel. He was named by the Washington Journalism Review as one of the best writers in the history of broadcast journalism. His other books include Broadcast Blues and The Joy of Books.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Spirits of the World1. The First National Pastime2. The General and the Doctor3. The Father of Prohibition and Other Kinfolk4. The Crusaders and Their Crusades5. The Importance of Being Frank6. Hatchetation7. The Wheeler-Dealer and His Men8. The Blues and How They Played9. Executive Softness10. The Hummingbird Beats the OddsEpilogue: Strange BedfellowsAcknowledgmentsNotesSelect BibliographyIndex
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