This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
A rather illuminating perspective on modern history, the book builds an interesting theory that the big ages of humanity were coincidental with changes in the most popular drinks. The book is non-committal, however, as to whether the new availability of the drink was a significant factor in the end of an era, or if it is the new era that caused the greater popularity of the new drink. Nevertheless, it makes it very clear that the new era and the new drink did reinforce each other.
Paradoxically, my main reservation on the book is that the general topic is a bit dry. Like a coffee table book, the material is interesting but it is difficult to get interested about short snippets about the drink or its context with few characters or grand historical events. Another missed opportunity is that the book does not really follow-up on old drinks, through the ages, when their main era ends. I wish I would know more about the slow decline of a drink or if that decline is permanent, specially given the importance of beer, wine, etc. in modern America.
Yet, this is a very real treasure trove of historical about just about everyone's favorite drink.
The first 2 parts on beer and wine are very informative and entertaining. The part on coffee and tea have also provided valuable insight on the development of modern industrial society. Very light, enjoyable and thought-provoking.
Very interesting concept, well researched and written.
The detail of the subject matter; it was concise yet thorough.
No, but he certainly reads well and I would be pleased to hear him read again.
I found the history of beer to be particularly engaging, as I had no idea it was one of the earliest beverages ever made.
Highly recommended to any history buffs.
I usually only listen to action fiction, it's pretty much the only thing that keeps my attention. Thought I would take a chance with this book. I was not disappointed.
Hearing how far CocaCola reaches.
Well worth the listen.
I liked how the impact of each drink and it's impact on society was broken down but not overstated. Obviously there were many factors that contributed to the significant events of human history but Tom Standage shows how these beverages truly were a big part of the equation.
I'm being a little picky here but I thought it would have been nice if he took a little pause before reading the section titles within the book. It had to register in my mind that it wasn't the next line of the book but actually a topic/subtopic. It doesn't detract from the book but I just like to know by some kind of change of inflection or a brief pause that this is the beginning of a new section.
While it was a shorter book than I normally listen to, I did take a break after each beverage was discussed. I decided to actually have a class/cup of each of the beverages under discussion. I thought it was fun to drink along with the stories.
For anyone with an interest in History then this is a book you must read. I never realized the connections with these six beverages and how they ultimately changed civilization.
Apart from the history buffs I recommend the book to anyone who has the slightest interest and appreciation for beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and coke cola! I guess this means everyone?
A fascinating review of several historical trends and how they were shaped by commodities we largely take for granted today. Highly recommended for food and beverage lovers.
This was a curious book about how our choice of drink through the ages has evolved and may have impacted our overall civilization development. It makes for great party conversations!
I love the story of different topics under an interesting umbrella. The history of the world wrapped around what people drank is fascinating.
There is a wonderful book about French food based on the fat used in that cuisine.
Really I can't identify what his tongue was doing. Sure sounded like dentures, but he looks young. Irritating listening to an interesting topic with whistles.
Not yet. All interesting.
Why is this book good? Because it caused me to memorize parts, share them with others, and reflect upon what I learned.
It's history in a bottle! Or, cask/cup/stein.
This book could have been almost twice as long and still a good read. The only part that got long to me was the greek/roman culture and wine portion--but the wine portion was my least favorite, anyways.
This book was so good, that it has caused me to read several other books written along similar lines.
The narrator was a bit slow and not quite as inflective as I like, but I got used to him quickly and was no problem.