Friday, June 19, 2015

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Today’s post is on A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. It is 311 pages long including index and is published by Walker & Company. The cover is white with the title having some of the drinks being letters. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history, humanity, and good writing. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. The story is told from third person close. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history. Throughout time, certain drinks have done much more than just quench our thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm. Six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history during pivotal epochs, from humankind’s adoption of agriculture and the birth of cities to the advent of globalization. A History of the World in 6 Glasses presents an original, well-documented vision of world history, telling the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola.
Beer, which originated in the Fertile Crescent, was so important to the first civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. The golden age of ancient Greece was also the age of wine, which became the main export of Greece’s vast seaborne trade. Spirits such as brandy and rum fortified seamen on long voyages during the Age of Exploration and oiled the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffee-houses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became so popular in Britain that it started to dictate British foreign policy at the height of the British Empire. Carbonated beverages were invented in Europe in the late eighteenth century, but became a twentieth-century phenomenon, with Coca-Cola becoming the leading symbol of globalization.
For Tom Stadage, each drink is a catalyst for advancing culture, through which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. After reading his clever and enlightening book, you may never look at your favorite drink in quite the same way again.

Review- What a fun book. I had so fun reading this. Each drink has it own place in history and I really enjoyed learning about it. Standage takes us from the Stone Age to present day. As he does so he does not just forget about the drink(s) from the previous chapters, he talks about how they still played a role in society. As wine becomes more popular only lower classes drink beer, spirits are just for the slaves and the Americans and so on. I am simplifying it but you get the idea. He also talks about how the drinks were first made and how they are made now if it is different. All the threads are just really good from the social to the politics to human interactions.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.