Synopses & Reviews
Rotgut gin—cheap, widely available, and remarkably potent—was the overwhelming drug of choice among London’s working poor in the early 1700s. Sold for pennies in taverns and squalid gin shops, on street corners and even in jails, gin was the original opiate of the masses, plunging England’s capital into chaos and giving rise to the first modern drug scare. Craze is an engaging social history of gin and the men and women whose lives it touched: the poor who drank it, the distillers who made it, the members of Parliament who feared it, and the prime minister who relied on its tax revenues to line his pockets. Offering a rich political, social, and economic history of gin and the London of Hogarth and Dr. Johnson, Craze will intoxicate you with its blend of erudition, style, and wit.