From the book jacket: 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
Comment: Standage presents history through the lens of 6 drinks from the dawn of civilization. Farming allowed our ancestors to build surpluses of food, including grains - and it wasn't long before they were fermenting those grains into beer. The Greeks made wine, which thus became important to the Romans and no doubt influenced the areas that Rome felt were worth colonizing. The Arabs mastered the art of distilling alcohol (very useful for those long voyages during the Age of Exploration!) Coffee was the ideal beverage for 'The Age of Reason' and coffee-houses quickly became the hub for intellectual, industrial and financial goings on. Tea lubricated Britain's industrial revolution and had far reaching effects on Britain's foreign policy (and remembering that a goodly portion of the world was colonized by Britain at the time, its influence was substantial - even a trigger for the American Revolution). Lastly, Standage links the rise of American capitalism to Coca-Cola - the former cough medicine, now global commodity.
'The Economist's technology editor has the ability to connect the smallest detail to the big picture and a knack for summarizing vast concepts in a few sentences.' - Publishers Weekly starred review.
This review is from the June 1, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.
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