A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Hardcover: 311 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company; 1st edition (May 19, 2005)
Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.
For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
This was the May book club pick for The Kitchen Reader. Because of the title of the book, I wondered if it would read like a text book. It didn’t. It reads like a novel, and because of that I zooomed through it. I really enjoyed learning how different types of drinks helped shape the world from as early as the Stone Age. This book is full of information that was new to me since I have never thought about how the drinks we enjoy today came to be, or the difference they made in the lives of our ancestors.
The chapters are:
Beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt
1. A Stone Age Brew
2. Civilized Beer
Wine In Greece and Rome
3. The Delight of Wine
4. The Imperial Vine
Spirits In The Colonial Period
5. High Spirits, High Seas
6. The Drinks That Built America
Coffee In The Age Of Reason
7. The Great Soberer
8. The Coffeehouse Internet
Tea And The British Empire
9. Empires Of Tea
10. Tea Power
Coca-Cola And The Rise Of America
11. From Soda To Cola
12. Globalization In A Bottle
And the epilogue is Back To The Source (water)
I thought about adding a few facts to my review, but I think if this is a subject you’re interested in, you would much more enjoy reading the book and absorbing all the info for each drink. I highly recommend the book. I don’t think you’ll regret reading it.
Very very interesting!