The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World

The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World

by Stephen Mansfield
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The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LaFred More than 1 year ago
"Beer has a noble history and... the great saints of old, loved it, drank it, wrote about it and celebrated it to the glory of God." The Search for God and Guinness is the true story of the beer that changed the world through a family that used their wealth and influence to help millions. New York Times best-selling author, Steven Mansfield, takes the reader through the chronology of beer, documenting its origins and role in early Christianity, and of the Guinness family influence on the people of Dublin. The Guinness legacy is a shining example of what it means to find one's purpose and to strive for excellence for the glory of God. If you're interested in beer, Christianity, business, management, or history, The Search for God and Guinness is for you. In the vein of Guinness advertising: Guinness is Good for You!
RevJG More than 1 year ago
Beer and the Bible have been controversial companions on American shores for some time. Having moved here from the UK, and having often shared theological discourse with the vicar over a pint at our local pub, I never could quite connect with the concept that Christian's should not drink alcohol. I've come to see that Prohibition was the major change in thinking, and that generations on we are still feeling the impact of a dry nation. Mansfield has set out to provide us with a history of the Guinness family, their empire and legacy, and along the way has created much more. For my money, the opening chapter on the history of beer pre-Guinness is worth the price of admission alone (though may it be noted this is a review for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze.com program, and so I received my copy at no cost to me). To see how beer was championed as the healthy choice, the cure to the ailments of hard liquor, and to see the church being the chief brewers and distributors - now that's a story worth telling! But even more so, the story of Arthur Guinness & Sons is a fine remedy to the concept that ministry is something done exclusively by clergymen. The most impressive factor in Mansfield's work is the vision with which he presents the Guinness story - it is the tale of a man following God to do what He has called him to: brew good beer, and impact his employees and city by being a good steward. Here is a rare life, writ large, to show us that faith is not to be separated from endeavor; that our endeavors are not merely informed by faith but that faith breathes life into the work itself. The writing is easy but full-bodied, much like the beer it addresses, and though there are some sections that are a little too heavy on the historical data for my liking, the stories of assorted people and their part in the history of this grand ol' brewery cause a cheer to well up within the reader and a strong desire to raise a glass of the dark stout in celebration of a man who changed the course of history for his city by pursuing a God given passion with integrity and determination. May we learn the lesson well!
MikeHBrandes More than 1 year ago
Stephen Mansfield serves up a delicious, frothy, and engaging account of the history of the Guinness family, and how they intertwined faith and beer. By this account, the Guinness family took more pride in the faith, and sense of duty to their workers that was passed down from generation to generation than the recipe for their world famous stout porter. Mansfield takes the reader through an in depth history of the Guinness Company, and how they used their social standing, influence, and wealth to better their company, as well as the lives of every one of their employees. Mansfield takes painstakingly careful detail to account for the ways the Guinness family bettered the lives of their workers, from basic hygiene to academic, and homemaking classes for the wives of employees. In a time where so many corporations have failed both in terms of making a profit, and caring for their employees, its nice to read a story of a company that has flourished in both regards for the past 250 years. In honor of Mansfield's thorough account, I raise my glass, and say cheers! I recommend you pick up a copy of this book and read it for yourself.
Sandra_King More than 1 year ago
I didn't know. Seriously. I bought a sweatshirt at a harp festival. It was oversized and warm and had harps on it. I tried to find out what a Guinness harp was. No luck. I wore the shirt everywhere. My daughter asked me why I was advertising beer. And then I heard of this book--The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield. God and beer? And harps? Of course, I had to read it, even though I don't much care for beer. In the mid-1700s Arthur Guinness "walked the streets of Dublin pleading with God to do something about the drunkenness on the streets of Ireland." He believed he heard God speak, "Make a drink that men will drink that will be good for them." This is a deeply researched book and far from a fast read, but I learned much--such as the history of beer in general and Guinness stout in particular. I learned about health aspects of beer and that "beer, well respected and rightly consumed can be a gift of God." The book transported me back into Irish history, including into the middle of the potato famine devastation. I learned how a company reached out to the working poor, the sick, the helpless, and the hopeless. Employee benefits during the 1920s were unparalleled. Companies of today should take note. I also discovered a family of deep faith and strong bonds, a family who came together in good times and in bad. I learned that Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and the Wesleys had what some might consider surprising attitudes toward alcohol. And I learned that Henry Grattan Guinness, Arthur's grandson, has been called the Billy Graham of the nineteenth century. And that Hudson Taylor was also a "part of the Guinness story." If you love beer, Ireland, history, the poor, the sick, you'll love this book. If you love God, you'll love this book. And if you don't, you might after you read it. And now I'm content that when I wear my sweatshirt, I'm not just advertising beer. I'm also advertising God. NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
nchokkan More than 1 year ago
The title of the book was the first surprise. God and Guinness (Beer), Other than the fact that they both start with the same alphabet, there can't be two more uncommon words. After reading the title once again to confirm, I told myself, 'It must be a marketing gimmick to make us buy the book.' But Author Stephen Mansfield makes a great impression in the prologue itself justifying the title. Introduction gives more clarity on why God and Guinness are together not only in the title, but throughout this fantastic book. Typically Business biographies follow a format. Lot of focus on early days, struggles of founders, then one or more dramatic turning point(s), growth, challenges, money it brought, competition, how they managed to stay ahead and finally, IPO, riches it brought to the well deserving founders and early employees, how it changed hands and still managed to continue its legacy and that's it. That standard formula is not followed in this book, because it tells a human story, Of Arthur Guinness and his family. When we talk about Guinness, we only think about the Beer, but this book focuses on the people behind the screens, their intentions, faith, how they spent their well earned money and so on. This well-written book is superbly illustrated too, with a right mix of content as well as tidbits, trivia and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it strongly. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Phillip_Santillan More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: For those who are offended by the idea of a book written how beer and the religion of Christianity may have relationship with each other, you are invited to read my review, but remember that this is a review.not an endorsement. With that said.my review! As the son of two parents whose conversion stories included a turning from unbiblical standards of being "intoxicated", I was taught that beer had nothing to do with God. For years, I believed that the only type of people who touched beer were non-christians. I think it can be safe to say that life has taught me otherwise. There has been much debate on the issue of consumption of alcohol and being a follower of Christ. These debates are not just among the "common people", but even among those many would consider theologians or religious and biblical scholars. History has proven to us that even respected church fathers have been recorded to have many a conversation over a beer. That beer was most often made by Guinness. The book, The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield, arrived at my home a little over 2 months ago from Thomas Nelson. As a person who loves the study of history, I was very curious to see if this truly was a "biography of the beed that changed the world" as the book promoted itself to be, or if it was just another person trying to prove that it's ok to drink beer and be a Christian. Was this going to be a book of historical facts, or a collection of opinions? My observation was that this was definitely a book of facts. This may be the reason it took me so long to finish. Intriguing as the information was, it did carry on at times like a text book. None-the-less, there were many great things about this book. Why was that? Because this book not only told the history of Guinness, but it explored how the Guinness family's faith shaped how influenced the world around them. If anything, it showed how a family could be ministers in their community without actually being ministers by profession. Though many of the Guinness family did chose vocational ministry over working at the brew house, the business of the Guinness brewery was always a motivator and empowering of benevolence. Even though the current face of the Guinness company no longer looks like its humble and Christian beginnings (much like the many prestigious universities of the United States), a study of it's history is one that portrays what a business that is lead by a follower of Christ can look like. If you're looking for more ideas on how to live "Your Best Life Now".keep moving. Or, if you're looking for this book to replace a thorough personal study of God's Word on the consumption of alcoholic beverages, then you're going to be very dissapointed. but. If you're a history buff who wants to see what Christianity in the "marketplace" looks like.pick this up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AaronBReddin More than 1 year ago
While this book was highly informative from a historical standpoint, it was largely lacking on the "God" part. Let me explain: I learned more about beer's history, how it was made, and how it shaped culture than I had ever known. I didn't realize just how influential beer has been on the history of man. I had no idea how closely beer and Christianity were tied. I learned about the history of Guinness and the life of it's founder, Arthur Guinness. While all of this was mildly intriguing, it got boring about half way through. I guess I expected to learn, AND to grow in reading this book. Unfortunately it's all pretty much knowledge. The title lead me to believe that we were going to go after God. That there might be some level of spirituality involved. While the heart of Arthur Guinness is depicted as that of an awesome believer who's faith lead him to bless the lives of everyone else around him, the "search for God" part was far from personally applicable, in my humble opinion. This book should have had a more relevant title. If you're a history buff, you'll love it!! If you're actually "searching for God", look elsewhere!
Sara_Strand More than 1 year ago
I have to say, this was a very hard read for me. It literally was a book that made me want to sleep. It has taken me over a MONTH to finish it, which is huge because I'm not only a very fast reader, but I can pretty much get through anything (except Anna Karenina...I still can't get page 5- my head basically wants to explode). The first part of the book is a very lengthy, almost way too much detail for my pee brain to absorb about the history of beer. Where it originated (maybe), how it was made (we think), and the wonderful journey it's been on since. It connects beer with God and speaks of how different religions viewed beer. Then it moves onto (finally) Arthur Guinness and his quest of making an even better brew, something that was better for you. The most interesting part of the entire thing was how Arthur literally built a business by being smart and savvy yet being an absolute gentleman to his workers and the community around him. He provided a great social service to Ireland which continues today in the Guinness world. The things he did and provided for his staff and their families was amazing and is ironic because in America, you are LUCKY if you get sub-prime health care coverage. It really shows that it is possible to provide generous wages and benefits to employees AND make a profit. Consumers are willing to support companies that support their staff- it's just too bad that more companies aren't that way. So I would recommend this book if you like beer, are interested in companies who changed a social and economical climate of an area and a person who genuinely strived to do more and be better. On the other hand, if you aren't a history person (like me) you may be bored to death. But I assure you- you will survive. And might learn something.
BNagel More than 1 year ago
3 out of 5 UKpints In The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World, Stephen Mansfield writes an engrossing historical account of the faith of the family behind the famous dark stout. The book starts with beer basics. How beer happens, how it is brewed as well as a historical background of beer in Ireland and in the Church. Then to the Guinnesses. Arthur Guinness wanted to provide an alternative to the non-potable water and the extremely intoxicating gin that pervaded the time. Using a family recipe for homebrew(ed beer, not whiskey), personal charisma and a vision for the future, Guinness plants the seed of a cultural icon. This book does not follow the boardroom, nor the brewery. Instead, Mansfield wants the reader to watch the men at the head of the company. Their policies and politics, their membership and involvement in branches of the church, their social activities and the way they used their wealth. And Mansfield paints a convincing picture of a family leading a company without abandoning their founding principles. What didn't work There are a few reasons this book didn't get all of the available pints (other than that its absorbency was called into question). One: while entertaining and informative, the narrative was sequential, but not cohesive. And that's probably my preference for long, involved, convoluted storylines. It's a fantastic "set down book." Two: the pictures. While most pictures were placed in proximity to the discussion of their subjects, several seemed out of place with little or no relevance. I mean, yeah, the pictures are cool. But not effective. Three: there seemed to be a lot of glossing or brushing past. That could just be my preference for length (cf One). What did work The book is a quick read and informative without being dry, which is hard to do. The tone is conversational without being overly familiar. And it really is a great "set down book," one you can read in waiting rooms or keep on your bedside table without having to worry about being kept up all night. Great gift for the Irishman or woman in your family, the stout fan or the beef stew cook who wants to know a casual bit about his secret ingredient.
Drumreader More than 1 year ago
I must start by confessing that this book was not what I anticipated it would be based on the title. I think I was hoping for deep theological truths comparing the water, barley and hops to the Trinity- and the subsequent "shall thirst no more" applications for my life. Stephen Mansfield has not broken any new theological ground in this book- nor did he intend to. What he did do- and very well- was convey the story of a family whose heritage is one of a good product (some would argue the "best") being sold by a good company by means of genuinely good business practices. It is those practices that are really the theme and lesson of this book. What company founder Arthur and subsequent Guinness's understood was that successful business is built on honoring and valuing your people. "If you're not willing to make money for people, you shouldn't try to make money from people" is a very simple, yet poignant motto that Arthur understood. What the Guinness families did for their employees, and ultimately, their city and country went well beyond simple philanthropy, however. They were interested in the well being of the entire man- physical, spiritual, mental. The programs offered- libraries, schools, housing, on-site, fully subsidized health care for employees and families, recreational spaces and activities, the first Sunday School in Ireland- the list goes on- were in most cases the first of their kind. After a couple hundred pages of stories of the Guinness's getting it right (and a few about them getting it wrong) the real story emerges. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with Arthur Guinness. In my opinion, the real story is the glaringly obvious contrast to the headlines today that tell a very different story of corporate culture and use of wealth. In an age of Enrons, Wall St. bail-outs and ponzi-scheme heads retiring to state funded "correctional facilities", the story of a family that understood the responsibility of wealth was alternately refreshing and discouraging. The sense of something greater than self can't really be taught, but it's certainly a lesson we all need to hear these days. (Raising my pint) Here's to more of these lessons being lived in front of us today. I review books for the Thomas Nelson book review program.
JaneyD1 More than 1 year ago
Some Christians might wonder how The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World by Stephen Mansfield fits in with Christian literature. Truth is, it's much more than a beer story. It is a delightful history book plunging us back to Ireland in the late 1700s and showing us how one family changed the destiny of many. While leading us step-by-step into the development of Guinness beer-a beverage discovered haphazardly and which provided a safe and healthy alternative to high-alcohol drinks and toxic waters-the author highlights the prolific achievements of the Guinness family. The Guinness family affected every realm of society, partly because of their diverse career choices (brewers, bankers, preachers and politicians), but mostly because of their generosity. The family brewery business provided more than a healthful drink which would quickly became world-renowned: it also served as a springboard for numerous philanthropic undertakings. The Guinnesses took great care of their workers-raising their standard of living considerably. And they also took care of the poor. In spite of a few Guinnesses whose poor choices disgraced the family name, the family left a legacy of noble benevolence. And a healthful drink. I'm a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ Janey L. DeMeo Copyright © November 2009 www.orphansfirst.org www.JaneyDeMeo.com http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/
tiffanibelle More than 1 year ago
"The Search for God and Guinness" by Stephen Mansfield is the story of the Guinness family and how the family and those associated with the organization used their wealth and influence to advance the cause of social justice in Ireland. Mansfield is a well-known biographer who has tackled Presidents Bush and Obama as well as Winston Churchill and Booker T. Washington (among others). In this text, he meanders through the story of Arthur Guinness (the founder of the Guinness company) and his offspring, sharing anecdotes and historical facts about the storied family - all while extolling the benefits of a good glass of Guinness stout. I expected to really enjoy this book and the beginning didn't disappoint. Though its organization is a little confusing (it starts with a sort of history of beer and Guinness in particular, then talks about history, then gets to Arthur after 30+ pages), I did enjoy the stories. I didn't know that beer was often brewed as an alternative to hard liquor, and that everyone was drinking either liquor or beer because the water was contaminated. Fascinating stuff. However, about mid-way through the story seemed to grow weaker and I found less real information to support the idea that the Guinnesses throughout time were great God-fearing people, and learned that there were a lot of people in the early years of Guinness who did great things for God, and some of them were Guinnesses, and some just worked there. I'm a biography lover, but ultimately, this book didn't hold my interest after about 150 pages. It was hard work getting through the rest. If you like biographies and beer, you might enjoy it. I'll still loan it to my beer loving friends, but I can only rate it 2 ½ pints out of 5.
StephenOWright More than 1 year ago
Those who don't study history always repeat its errors. "The Search for God and Guinness" by Stephen Mansfield corrects some of the biggest errors in today's culture. The first issue that the book tackles is whether Christians could consume alcohol. I come from a Southern Baptist background that condemns any use of alcohol. But such a legalistic viewpoint both ignores church history and misinterprets the Bible. Our church fathers enjoyed alcohol in moderation. Monasteries brewed beer. Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin drank. The first building that the Pilgrims built in America was not a church, but a brewery. The Bible does not condemn drinking, it condemns drunkenness. The Guinness family were both brewers and committed Christians. But the bigger issue is the book confronts is what people should do with their wealth. The Guinness family used their wealth to help others. They paid their workers a living wage. They offered free health care and pensions. They worked to improve housing and renovate historical buildings, including churches. The founder, Arthur Guinness, started Sunday schools in Ireland. In an age of greed and selfishness, of corrupt and irresponsible corporations, I pray that the generosity of Guinness would be reborn. *Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided a free copy of the book for review.
onepursuit More than 1 year ago
This book explores the history of Guinness and lets us peer into the lives of those who turned the dark brew into an internationally recognized brand. Along the way we meet real people with genuine faith and a deep commitment not only to improve the quality of their product, but to improve their employees' quality of life. Guinness was far ahead of its time in providing education and health benefits to its workers. They also had a tremendous impact outside of the brewery through social activism and missionary work. This book caught my attention because God and Guinness struck me as an odd couple. The title might even seem sacrilegious to some. Yet Mansfield reminds us that only a century ago, Christian attitudes towards alcohol (beer in particular) were very different. If you believe that beer always was and always will be indisputably evil, you may not like this book - but you should read it anyway! Beyond the brewery, this book tells the stories of Christians who lived out their faith in the workplace. They stood up for unpopular social causes. They gave back to their communities. They took care of their workers. And they did it all despite famines and wars, economic downturns and political upheavals. Those are lessons we could all stand to learn.
VWM More than 1 year ago
The Search for God and Guinness A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World By Stephen Mansfield The history of Guinness, one of the world's most famous brands, reveals the noble heights and crushing descents of a great family and an innovative business. It began in Ireland in the late 1700's. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place was devastating civil society. It was a disease ridden, starvation plagued, alcoholic age, and Christians like Arthur Guinness-as well as monks and even evangelical churches-brewed beer to offer a healthier alternative to the poisonous waters and liquors of the times. This is where the Guinness tale began. Now, 246 years and 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand, one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The tale that unfolds during those two and a half centuries has power to thrill audiences today: the generational drama, business adventure, industrial and social reforms, deep-felt faith, and the beer itself. Since my neighbor came back from a trip to Ireland a couple of years ago, I got into drinking Guinness and enjoying it. Being into God and reading, the title caught my attention. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Full of historical tidbits and an inside look at a company who treats their employees quite differently than any modern day company. It could have been a result of the times or was it their ingrained faith and duty to mankind. It turns out to be the latter as other members of the family do the social responsibility not being associated with the company. Great and interesting reading full of great lessons for today Corporations who believe their people are their greatest asset. This Blog/Review is a result of being a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program : http://brb.thomasnelson.com/
MitchBlackburn More than 1 year ago
I was immediately captured by the simple, but striking, cover. A pint of Guinness, back-lit by a heavenly glow. It was no coincidence. This book indeed reveals the heavenly glow of the Guinness family. In the prologue, I was drawn in by Mansfield's account of an encounter where he concisely shared the Guinness family story. He went beyond the history into describing how the Guinnesses went beyond brewing beer to serving their employees, and the community with a Christ-like heart. Further, many became ministers, missionaries, and government leaders that made a significant, Godly, positive difference. Mansfield approached the book as a historian, using a variety of sources, garnished by anecdotes that season the history lesson with intimate insight and excitement. He provided an excellent foundation including: beer history, economic and political pressures, and interesting (potentially little known) facts. I did not realize that the 'beer' Guinness and the 'world record' Guinness were the same family! I would recommend this book, to history lovers and beer drinkers alike. While thorough and well developed, it reads like a good history book more than an exciting epic. Check out my other reviews: http://mitchsbooklooks.blogspot.com/ NOTE: I am a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/
promobrain More than 1 year ago
To rephrase famous saying from the Guinness ad campaign "It's a great day for a book about Guinness.....and God!" A delightful and and delectable read that tells the story of the famous brewing dynasty of the Guinness Family. Not limited to merely their story, we are treated to the historical tales of beer of our forefathers. You won't believe how much beer the Puritans brought in one ship! Combine this with the exemplary faith that is woven throughout this tome it is a must read and is highly recommended. I particularly appreciated the stories of faith that the Guinness' lived out not only through their worship and service but also their calling in their business. If every business today lived out the corporate philosophy of Arthur Guinness and his heirs the business climate as well as the governmental structure would be vastly different. The Guinness belief was to care for their employees by providing education, healthcare as well as housing and more. We need a Guinness revolution for businesses of today and learn the Guinness Way....cheers to Stephen Mansfield....now I am going to finish my glass.
ragamuffinpc More than 1 year ago
Reading this review reveals you already have some interest in the topic of this book. To ask that you not write this book off too soon would be misguided at best. You are likely as interested as I was when I first saw the title. "God and Guinness? Two of my favorite things? Sign me up!" Stephen Mansfield begins the book with a dazzling overview through the history of beer, and it does great justice to highlighting what lead to the stringent prohibition that extends into the mindset of so many Christians even today. The mindset came after years of beer seen not only as acceptable but beneficial. With the first chapter precursor out the way, Mansfield dives into the history of the Guinness brand we all recognize beginning with Arthur Guinness 250 years ago. Revealed in these pages is a family line of brilliant brewers who continually changed the way things were always done. Through countless challenges, the brand would endure with more than, but still including a drive for excellence, innovation, expansion, and mastery. More important than all these is the silver thread weaving its way throughout. Deep in the heart of its original founder, Arthur, is a heart for their God which would kindle each generation to follow. Mansfield reveals lines of Guinnesses you likely have never seen who were renowned men of faith. This foundational faith of the Guinness family line necessarily created stories of benevolence, compassion, and social justice, which would be groundbreaking even today. You will find stories of revitalization of whole cities and countries brought about by the Guinness brand and family because they could not avoid the call of their God on their lives. Mansfield is an able historian, and if you are like me the history will weigh on your attention from time to time. If you have a love for beer or God, you may have to challenge yourself to endure through your own judgments. But if you have a love for both God and beer, this book will leave you craving a world changing conversation with friends over a pint of the saintly stout.
RobinMcCoy More than 1 year ago
It was the title that intrigued me. It was the story that drew me in. It was the history, the passion of one family and the higher calling they felt God had given to them that captured my mind and heart as I read through this story of love, compassion, ambition, generosity, ingenuity and creativity. It is not only the story of one family; it is also a story of one company that has survived incredible circumstances My knowledge of Guinness was limited to the time I spent working in the hospitality industry. Now in full time ministry, I wanted to truly know how these two apparently different worlds are connected. It is now clear to me how our American culture has created this conflict in me, and in the Christian community. Our American history and much of our early church history included this "healthy and pure" beverage While, the book in some places is choppy and does not seem to flow well, the author takes you back in time when everyone not only drank beer, they brewed it as well. It was not for the sheer pleasure of the drink, but it was also a healthier, safer beverage to consume as the water had the potential to be contaminated or poisoned. Beer was and still is regarded as "a gift of God." But, the story is so much more as we walk through the generations of this family owned business, and their deep passion to brew their beer for the glory of God, to give back to their community, their nation and the world. "The Guinness family chose to leave a legacy." The Search for God and Guinness is a history book, an inspirational business story and not least, a story of a family that birthed a way of life for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Henry Grattan Guinness, Arthur Guinness' grandson, "was one of the great preachers of his age". "Souls were converted, churches began bulging". Also interesting to note is that Henry aggressively addressed the issue of a new book out, "On the Origin of the Species", as he knew this to be a lie that would easily sway the poor and uneducated. He chose to research and teach students how to address what he believed to be "the most insidious lie of his age." I could go on and on, but you are going to have to go out and buy the book and read for yourself. I think you will have a greater appreciation for the beverage we call beer, the company called Guinness and the family that truly believed and lived life with the passion to do the will of God.
starryeyed More than 1 year ago
This book tells the history of one of the world's most successful beer manufactures, Guinness. The author follows two and half centuries of the Guinness family, beginning with the founder Arthur Guinness. It tells of not only the success of the company of their positive impact on society. I found the story of the Guinness's' very heartening and refreshing. I must admit upon first reading the cover of the book " A Biography of the Beer That Changed The World" I was a bit leery. But that just goes to the old saying.. This book kept my attention and I was very pleased to learn of the ways that the Guinness's' used their wealth to serve their fellow man. They gave their workers in the 1920's such benefits as full medical and dental, pension and so much more. They also guaranteed that if their employees served during World War I that their jobs would be waiting for them when they came back. The generosity of the company not only touched the lives of their employees but the entire community. I was very surprised to learn that the Arthur Guinness founded the very first Sunday schools in Ireland. I think that the author did a wonderful job bringing the story together and I like that he helps the reader to understand the role that faith played in the success of the Guinness's.This book was a gratifying read that I would recommend to others. I am writing this review as a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Bloggers http://brb.thomasnelson.com/
edivietro More than 1 year ago
I am not a huge fan of Guinness. As I get older, I have warmed to it but it is not my favorite beer. (In case you're wondering, that distinction goes to Sam Adams' White Ale.) Perhaps it is because I'm not Irish. But I have always held Guinness in the highest regard because of its storied past. I knew it was old, but I had no idea how old until I had the opportunity to read and review The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World by Stephen Mansfield. Interestingly enough, this book is not really a biography of the beer but rather the brewers. It tells the story of the Guinness family, from Arthur Guinness who founded the brewery in 1759 to Arthur Francis Benjamin who resigned from the chairmanship in 1986. It follows the family and their namesake brewery over 250 years of challenges and successes. The fascinating part of the story is the spiritual and social journey of the Guinness family who, despite being created peers and being unbelievably wealthy, remained focus on the needs of their workers. Mansfield makes the point that "righteous wealth" can do more for the betterment of society than government mandates can. One of the best history books I've read in recent months, God and Guinness really looked at the journey of hope that is the Guinness' family history. It shows how Guinness itself became a symbol of Irish pride and Guinness the company became symbols of generous charity, patient hope, and just plain good business. Their vision was never limited to a profit and because of that, the world was better for having them. Mansfield's style is upfront and direct. He presents the facts while offering some marginal thoughts along the way. Overall, it was an excellent presentation of business, moderation and vision.
Marian_Perera More than 1 year ago
"Beer, well respected and rightly consumed, can be a gift of God." Okay, I had to keep reading after that. Stephen Mansfield's "The Search for God and Guinness" is a story of the Guinness family's rise from the humble working-class to the owners of the largest business enterprise in Ireland (the Guinness Book of World Records is named after them). But it's also a paean to beer, and to money used well. I received this book from Thomas Nelson as part of the Book Review Bloggers program, and enjoyed reading it. The first chapter is a history of beer and why people throughout that history considered it good for them - for instance, it was a healthy substitute to unboiled water, it was an alternative to hard liquor and it contained B vitamins. The author's enthusiasm froths over in this section (sorry, bad pun) and beer all but gets God's stamp of approval. I think the reasoning is that since the Bible praises wine in Psalm 104:15, beer is likewise allowed, in moderation. This section also includes mentions of famous people who have appreciated and influenced beer, from Martin Luther to Enkidu (from the Epic of Gilgamesh), but I would have liked to see some attributions for Luther's more. permissive, shall we say. quotes. The rest of the book deals with the Guinness family, starting with Arthur Guinness. I've never even drunk beer, much less taken an interest in its history, but this section of the book was easy to read and involved interesting facts - for instance, the lease on Guinness's first major brewery was for nine thousand years. Talk about long-term planning. Then again, the yeast strain originally used in the 1700s is still busily at work today. Guinness coupled ambition with vision - he bought property near the docks, so ships could one day transport Guinness beer abroad. At the same time, though, he had a social conscience. His workers were treated very well by the standards of the day, and the Guinness board supported its company doctor's reforms in public health. Guinness also disapproved of the poor treatment of Catholics, which frequently had tensions brewing (OK, I'll stop here) in Ireland. Only one thing disappointed me about this book. The author mentioned that when Arthur Guinness started out, brewing was more superstition than science. People waited for airborne yeasts to ferment the alcohol, rather than selecting for and adding their own strains. Since my education is in microbiology, I was waiting eagerly for the moment when they would do this, but the book is far more about the men than the microbes involved in beer. And that's a small issue compared to the unfolding saga of a famous family, people who transformed wealth into the service of others, and changed water into beer.