A Cultural History of Alcohol

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Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781440631269
  • 560 Pages
  • Avery
  • Adult


A spirited look at the history of alcohol, from the dawn of civilization to the modern day

Alcohol is a fundamental part of Western culture. We have been drinking as long as we have been human, and for better or worse, alcohol has shaped our civilization. Drink investigates the history of this Jekyll and Hyde of fluids, tracing mankind’s love/hate relationship with alcohol from ancient Egypt to the present day.

Drink further documents the contribution of alcohol to the birth and growth of the United States, taking in the War of Independence, the Pennsylvania Whiskey revolt, the slave trade, and the failed experiment of national Prohibition. Finally, it provides a history of the world’s most famous drinks-and the world’s most famous drinkers. Packed with trivia and colorful characters, Drink amounts to an intoxicating history of the world.


“Thorough, informative, briskly readable, and witty.”
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“This is a book to be read with pleasure, best sipped in leisure like good bourbon.”
-Dallas Morning News

British author Iain Gately calls alcohol the “equivocal liquid,” and his exploration of our love-hate relationship with it is “by turns entertaining, inspiring, sobering, informative and simply fascinating,” writes reviewer Janice Kennedy in the Ottawa Citizen. As he did with Tobacco, his earlier cultural history, Gately offers what amounts to nothing less than a history of human civilization. From the archeological evidence of fermented potables in northern China nearly 10,000 years ago to the notion that American rap culture has been the salvation of France’s champagne and cognac industries with its taste for both pricey libations, Drink covers it all: the colour, comedy, catastrophe and controversy. Reviewer Kennedy concludes that “the book is bursting (or should that be overflowing?) with scrupulously researched facts, statistics, historical events and marvellous anecdotes, all of it just as scrupulously acknowledged in endnotes. But the wonder of it is its immense readability.” Buy it.
- The National Post (Canada)