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A History of the World in 6 Glasses

by
ISBN13:

9780802715524

ISBN10:
0802715524
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
5/16/2006
Publisher(s):
Walker & Company
List Price: $15.95

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Summary

From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history 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 Glassestells 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. Tom Standageis technology editor atThe Economistand the author ofThe Turk,TheNeptuneFile,andThe Victorian Internet. He lives in Greenwich, England. Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history during pivotal epochsfrom humankind's adoption of agriculture and the birth of cities to the advent of globalization.A History of the World in 6 Glassespresents a 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. For Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. "A History of the World in 6 Glassesis loaded with the kind of data that get talked about at the figurative water cooler . . . Incisive, illuminating and swift."Janet Maslin,The New York Times "[Standage] uses something mundane and everyday to tell vivid and accessible stories about the changing textures of human life."Steven Shapin,The New Yorker "As refreshing as a cool glass of beer on a hot day and as stimulating as that first cup of coffee in the morning. There aren't many books this entertaining that also provide a cogent crash course in ancient, classical and modern history."Wendy Smith,Los Angeles Times "Historians, understandably, devote most of their attention to war, politics and, not least, money. But history can also be seen through the prism of the commodities that money buys. InA History of the World in Six Glasses, Tom Standage argues that beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola have each, in their own way, helped to shape the course of history."Matthew Rees,The Wall Street Journal "When Standage decided to follow his readable study of an 18th-century chess-playing automaton,The Turk, with a

Author Biography

Tom Standage is technology editor at The Economist magazine and the author of four history books, "A History of the World in Six Glasses" (2005), "The Turk" (2002), "The Neptune File" (2000) and "The Victorian Internet" (1998). He holds a degree in engineering and computer science from Oxford University, and is the least musical member of a musical family. He is married and lives in Greenwich, London, with his wife and daughter.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1(8)
Vital Fluids
Beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt
A Stone--Age Brew
9(15)
Civilized Beer
24(19)
Wine in Greece and Rome
The Delight of Wine
43(26)
The Imperial Vine
69(24)
Spirits in the Colonial Period
High Spirits, High Seas
93(19)
The Drinks That Built America
112(21)
Coffee in the Age of Reason
The Great Soberer
133(18)
The Coffeehouse Internet
151(24)
Tea and the British Empire
Empires of Tea
175(23)
Tea Power
198(25)
Coca--Cola and the Rise of America
From Soda to Cola
223(27)
Globalization in a Bottle
250(16)
Epilogue. Back to the Source 266(9)
Acknowledgments 275(2)
Appendix. In Search of Ancient Drinks 277(8)
Notes 285(6)
Sources 291(10)
Index 301


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