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The World Of Caffeine

The World Of Caffeine

5.0 1
by Bennett Alan Weinberg

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First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.


First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Editorial Reviews

Cleveland Plain Dealer
With impressive felicity, Weinberg and Bealer marshal the forces of history, chemistry, medicine, cultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy and even a little religion to tell caffeine's complicated story…fascinating, generously illustrated volume.
Most Americans use some form of caffine on a daily basis, and it's the only addictive substance which is freely available almost everywhere. World Of Caffine provides the first cultural and social history of caffine, examining the science and health facts surrounding caffine and how caffine spread around the world. The historical and social backgrounds are fascinating.
Kirkus Reviews
A savory and spirited cultural history of caffeine, with summaries of pertinent scientific and medical research on the properties and effects of the world's drug of choice. Weinberg and Bealer (freelance writers with backgrounds, respectively, in the hard and social sciences) fill their amazing book to the brim with a challenging mix of history, science, medicine, anthropology, sociology, and popular culture, then add a dash of humor, a pinch of polemic, and a dollop of healthful skepticism. Caffeine, a"bitter, highly toxic white powder, readily soluble in boiling water," was first isolated and named in 1819 by a young German physician. But it had been employed as far back as the middle of the 15th century, when the first coffee was brewed in southern Arabia. By the middle of the 16th century,"coffeehouses [had sprung] up in every major city in Islam"; soon, travelers to the Middle East sampled the drink, enjoyed its effects, and took it back to their own countries. The authors then focus on tea, establishing 220 b.c. as"genuinely the earliest reference" to the beverage and speculating that the Chinese may have learned to brew it from people in northern India or southeast Asia. They trace the other principal dietary source of caffeine, chocolate, to the Mesoamerican Olmecs, who flourished from 1500 to 400 b.c. and first used the cacao bean to make a chocolate drink. Chronicling the spread of these substances to Europe, Weinberg and Bealer note that coffee was often touted for its supposed medicinal properties ("comforts the Brain and dries up Crudities in the Stomach," claimed one 18th-century publication). In the most engaging portion here, a long section dealing withtheculture of caffeine, the authors trace its social role. Wisely, they delay until the final chapters slower-going discussions of the chemistry of caffeine and the immense amount of medical research devoted to it. Well-researched, briskly written, full-bodied, and flavorful. (50 halftones and line drawings)

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

Bennett Alan Weinberg is a medical and science writer. He is also chairman of his own advertising and public relations firm whose clients include several of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies.
Bonnie K. Bealer is a researcher and writer trained in psychology and anthropology. The authors live in Philadelphia.

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The World of Caffeine 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used this text for research for a paper for my organic chemistry class. This was the first book that I have ever enjoyed reading when it's purpose was for research. The facts and details about caffeine were very intersesting. I recommend this book to anybody who wants more information on a drug that has a huge impact on their life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never thought there was so much to learn about caffeine! The World of Caffeine is a treasure chest of everything from art and history to medicine and modern culture. My idea of a good time is to go to Starbucks, order a double latte, and spend a couple of hours reading this incredible book. I recommend it highly if you're looking for a kind of reading adventure, because it takes you on a tour of so many places and tells stories about so many historical people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book rocks! If you drink coffee, tea or cola you need to get this book. I'm not sure which is more fascinating-- the hundreds of surprising medical facts about caffeine's effects on the mind and body, or the astonishing part caffeine has played in culture, art, religion, society, politics, science and literature. Caffeine is the driving force behind the explosion in cafe culture, the cult drug of the computer world and the Internet, and necessary part of just about everybody's daily life. And the authors really know to tell a story and there are hundreds of great stories from all over the world and throughout history. Amazing health facts include that caffeine actually improves your short term memory and helps you perform certain mental tasks more quickly and with fewer mistakes. Even more incredible, that caffeine actually grows new brain cells. The book also raises some serious warnings about caffeine use in pregnancy, a risk that has been pretty much overlooked by the FDA. I would say that this book gives a unique perspective on understanding history and modern society as well as offering a wealth of practical information about how to get the most out of the drug almost all of us are addicted to. It also has dozens of illustrations and charts and wouldn't be a bad gift for the caffeine addict in your life.