Yes, The topic is fascinating- details well researched ( I think)
His voice is boring ! Even if there is no dialogue in a book please modulate your voice !
If more of the world had been covered in this history, I would have been far more satisfied. As it is, he ignored important facts in order to cover America rather than the whole world.
By covering more of the known world, instead of giving a perfectly good history of America, and ignoring the rest of the known world.
Also, by checking his facts more carefully. There are a few hearsay fragments of information which are being offered as fact instead of the more boring reality. I know for a fact that some of what I was being told is not considered correct by actual historians and people who study this particular subject. Why not tell the truth?
More pauses during the presentation, especially between paragraphs and chapters. In fact the only way to know that a chapter had changed over was when there was a severe lack of gap between the sentences. The occasional beat between paragraphs and between chapters would really have made the performance a better listening experience, add to flow (I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it honestly would) and improve the whole performance.
The stories and hearsay fragments are excellent, I just wish that more of them could be based on fact.
I don't think it is that kind of book, no. But I would recommend it. Very interesting and satisfying
I loved the "Guns, Germs and Steel" like reference to the role alcohol played in preventing certain water borne disease. I especially liked the story behind the slang term "limey" for Englishmen, which I had never heard before
Understatement and poise, it was not a bombastic read, appropriately in my view
We are what we drink
It seemed a bit of an odd premise, to describe the World's history in terms of 6 drinks, but it worked a treat. Starting with beer, the author progresses through wine, spirits, coffee tea and coke and weaves it skillfully into the history of civilisation.
I learnt a lot. (e.g. I was surprised that beer arose so early in our history) and I was also entertained by countless anecdotes about these beverages: How the British navy was stronger and fitter than its rivals because of the serendipitous use of lime juice to flavour and preserve rum (thus preventing scurvey); how coffee houses in London evolved into institutions such as the Stock Exchange and Lloyds of London; how coke was manufactured in a transparent form and packaged like vodka in the soviet era to be acceptable to the Russian communists.
The narrator was pretty good, although he had the annoying habit of rushing the chapter titles so you didn't realise when a new one had begun. Aside from this, the book was one of my most 'listenable' downloads.
This work presents the history of six drinks that are popular today and that appeared at various moments in the past: beer, wine, rum, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola.
This provides a pretext to summarize the history of mankind and to highlight links that are often overlooked, say between rum production and the slave trade or between tea consumption in the UK and the prevalence of opium in 19th century China.
Some may feel that the author is at times overly generous in his assertions, for instance that coffee is a direct cause of the French Revolution.
Still, the original approach and the brevity of the work make it highly enjoyable.
I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. I bought it on sale, and I saw many great reviews, but I figured those were the history buffs out there that read encyclopedias as children, likely. :0) But it was very inexpensive, so I bought it and listened. Wow. Very interesting and very quick-moving, I loved hearing history I knew told from the perspective of the most popular drink of the day/region. My 11 year old heard me talking to my husband about it and snagged the book on his iPod. He really liked it as well, listening to it over the weekend. Very good book.
I really enjoyed this book, and thought the author did a good job, especially when recounting the origins of wine or beer, in tracing the history of these two drinks. And this book is definitely worth listening to, but my disappointment is with the incomplete nature of the book, mostly in the spirits section. Rum and whiskey are given ample time, but what about vodka's obvious influence on Russia and how did that (or did not) impact the kind of societies that developed there? Or tequila and Mexico? What about rice spirits in Asian contents, whether sake or something else? Without touching on these other topics, the work seems slanted to the obvious Western European culture, but we're missing, I assume, some wonderful histories of these drinks in these far flung cultures.
But...the stuff that's in here is nice. I just wish the author would have invested more time in a more comprehensive picture.
Say something about yourself!
Enjoyed this book, especially about beer, tea, coffee. Author made a story out of a lot of information. I was pleasantly surprised and felt I learned a lot. Recommended!
As I say, would have been a great article in Vanity Fair
The premise and outline was fascinating
You mean which beverage? LOL
Was too long for the depth of the material, but a great premise, well written.
If you ever viewed the world through the bottom of a glass you know the field of vision is a bit limited, much like trying to understand all of human history through its beverages, yet there is no question in my mind that Tom Standage presents a very valid perspective on how humanity's thirst has shaped it's politics and its economy.
The book is chock full of interesting historical detail and draws intriguing comparisons and conclusions. Its a fast read (listen) and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in drink or history.