A History of the World in 6 Glasses

August 15, 2019 - Comment

New York Times Bestseller 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

New York Times Bestseller

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 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.

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  • History of the World in 6 Glasses

Comments

Anonymous says:

Goes down easy I got this book last-minute before a flight as reading material. It didn’t quite last me that long though as I kept reading it after arriving at my destination.I have read a decent number of books about food and drink, but what sets this book apart for me is how it embeds itself into a historical context. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t take enough history classes in high school, but this book actually made me very interested in knowing about the history of the Persian empire, the…

Anonymous says:

This was definitely my favorite chapter. If you are not familiar with the … First of all, it isn’t a history of each individual beverage, though there is plenty of that, but a history of the world (as the title indicates) viewed through the lens of what (and why) people were drinking at the time. The drinks and the times they represent are:Beer – probably the oldest known drink, popular in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Likely made/discovered by accident, at some unknown time far in the distant past. One of the main benefits it had on society was that you must boil…

Anonymous says:

A Little Dry at First but Ultimately A Smooth and Enlightening Book A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage”A History of the World in 6 Glasses” is a view of the history of the world through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Science correspondent and accomplished author Tom Standage has come up with a clever book that shows how the aforementioned drinks were reflections of the eras in which they were created. This 311-page book is broken out by the six drinks (two chapters per drink): Beer in Mesopotamia and…

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