Synopses & Reviews
A spirited look at the history of alcohol from the dawn of civilization to the twenty first century
For better or worse, alcohol has helped shape our civilization. Throughout history, it has been consumed not just to quench our thirsts or nourish our bodies but also for cultural reasons. It has been associated since antiquity with celebration, creativity, friendship, and danger, for every drinking culture has acknowledged it possesses a dark side.
In Drink, Iain Gately traces the course of humanityas 10,000 year old love affair with the substance which has been dubbed athe cause ofaand solution toaall of lifeas problems.a Along the way he scrutinises the drinking habits of presidents, prophets, and barbarian hordes, and features drinkers as diverse as Homer, Hemmingway, Shakespeare, Al Capone, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Covering matters as varied as bacchanals in Imperial Rome, the gin craze in 17th century London, the rise and fall of the temperance movement, and drunk driving, Drink details the benefits and burdens alcohol has conveyed to the societies in which it is consumed. Gatelyas lively and provocative style brings to life the controversies, past and present, that have raged over alcohol, and uses the authentic voices of drinkers and their detractors to explode myths and reveal truths about this most equivocal of fluids.
Drink further documents the contribution of alcohol to the birth and growth of the United States, taking in the war of Independence, the Pennsylvania Whiskey revolt, the slave trade, and the failed experiment of National Prohibition. Finally, it provides a history of the worldas best loved drinks. Enthusiasts of craft brews andfine wines will discover the origins of their favorite tipples, and what they have in common with Greek philosophers and medieval princes every time they raise a glass.
A rollicking tour through humanityas love affair with alcohol, Drink is an intoxicating history of civilization
"Thorough, informative, briskly readable, and witty."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"This is a book to be read with pleasure, best sipped in leisure like good bourbon."
-Dallas Morning News
British author Iain Gately calls alcohol the "equivocal liquid," and his exploration of our love-hate relationship with it is "by turns entertaining, inspiring, sobering, informative and simply fascinating," writes reviewer Janice Kennedy in the Ottawa Citizen. As he did with Tobacco, his earlier cultural history, Gately offers what amounts to nothing less than a history of human civilization. From the archeological evidence of fermented potables in northern China nearly 10,000 years ago to the notion that American rap culture has been the salvation of France's champagne and cognac industries with its taste for both pricey libations, Drink covers it all: the colour, comedy, catastrophe and controversy. Reviewer Kennedy concludes that "the book is bursting (or should that be overflowing?) with scrupulously researched facts, statistics, historical events and marvellous anecdotes, all of it just as scrupulously acknowledged in endnotes. But the wonder of it is its immense readability." Buy it.
- The National Post (Canada)
"Drink" investigates the history of the most Jekyll and Hyde of all fluids--alcohol--and traces humankind's love/hate relationship with it from ancient Egypt to the present day. Gately also provides a history of the world's most famous drinks--and the world's most famous drinkers.
A spirited look at the history of alcohol, from the dawn of civilization to the modern day
Alcohol is a fundamental part of Western culture. We have been drinking as long as we have been human, and for better or worse, alcohol has shaped our civilization. Drink investigates the history of this Jekyll and Hyde of fluids, tracing mankind's love/hate relationship with alcohol from ancient Egypt to the present day.
Drink further documents the contribution of alcohol to the birth and growth of the United States, taking in the War of Independence, the Pennsylvania Whiskey revolt, the slave trade, and the failed experiment of national Prohibition. Finally, it provides a history of the world's most famous drinks-and the world's most famous drinkers. Packed with trivia and colorful characters, Drink amounts to an intoxicating history of the world.
About the Author
Iain Gately is the author of Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Raise in Hong Kong, he studied law at Cambridge University and worked in the financial markets of London, where he currently lives.