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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Gin tastes like Christmas to some and rotten pine chips to others, but nearly everyone familiar with the spirit holds immediate gin nostalgia.

Although early medical textbooks treated it as a healing agent, early alchemists (as well as their critics) claimed gin's base was a path to immortality-and also Satan's tool. In more recent times, the gin trade consolidated the commercial and political power of nations and prompted a social campaign against women. Gin has been used successfully as a defense for murder; blamed for massive unrest in 18th-century England; and advertised for as an abortifacient.

From its harshest proto-gin distillation days to the current smooth craft models, gin plays a powerful cultural role in film, music, and literature-one that is arguably older, broader, and more complex than any other spirit.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501353277
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 11/12/2020
Series: Object Lessons
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 311,090
Product dimensions: 4.66(w) x 6.53(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Shonna Milliken Humphrey is the author of Show Me Good Land and Dirt Roads and Diner Pie. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Salon. For two years, she was a food writer for The Maine Sunday Telegram. Learn more at:

Table of Contents

1 Gin and Juice: An Introduction 1

2 A Potent Three-Letter Etymology 13

3 The Basics: Juniper 23

4 The Basics: Distillation 35

5 Class and Type 45

6 The Great Style Divide 51

7 Dutch Courage and the British Navy 59

8 The British Gin Craze 69

9 Ice Harvest, American Style 81

10 Gincidents 93

11 Portraiture and Visuals 105

12 Lyrics and Verse 113

13 Film and Literature 119

14 Ginaissance 131

Acknowledgments 135

List of Figures 137

Index 139

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