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A History of the World in 6 Glasses
 
 
Author
Tom Standage.
Publisher Bloomsbury  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780802715524
Pages/Publication Date 311/2006
Daedalus Item Code 39029
This item is not available.
Description
Looking at the world from a thirsty perspective, the digital editor at the Economist and author of An Edible History of Humanity, The Turk, and The Victorian Internet considers the six drinks that have defined human history. Why were ancient Egyptians buried with beer? Why did the Romans see wine as a classier drink than beer? How did rum grog help the British navy defeat Napoleon? What is the relationship between coffee and revolution, or tea and economic empires? And how did Coca-Cola become synonymous with globalization decades before the term was coined? For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture that illuminates the interplay of different civilizations.

"Loaded with the kind of data that get talked about at the figurative water cooler.... Incisive, illuminating and swift."—NYTimes

"Standage starts with a bold hypothesis—that each epoch, from the Stone Age to the present, has had its signature beverage—and takes readers on an extraordinary trip through world history.... He explains how, when humans shifted from hunting and gathering to farming, they saved surplus grain, which sometimes fermented into beer. The Greeks took grapes and made wine, later borrowed by the Romans and the Christians. Arabic scientists experimented with distillation and produced spirits, the ideal drink for long voyages of exploration. Coffee also spread quickly from Arabia to Europe, becoming the 'intellectual counterpoint to the geographical expansion of the Age of Exploration.' European coffeehouses, which functioned as 'the Internet of the Age of Reason,' facilitated scientific, financial and industrial cross-fertilization. In the British industrial revolution that followed, tea 'was the lubricant that kept the factories running smoothly.' Finally, the rise of American capitalism is mirrored in the history of Coca-Cola, which started as a more or less handmade medicinal drink but morphed into a mass-produced global commodity over the course of the 20th century. In and around these grand ideas, Standage tucks some wonderful tidbits—on the antibacterial qualities of tea, Mecca's coffee trials in 1511, Visigoth penalties for destroying vineyards—ending with a delightful appendix suggesting ways readers can sample ancient beverages."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
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