I debated how to review this, but I'll put it this way: The book was exactly what I expected it would be, and I was very glad I listened. The author laid out his history and arguments compellingly and never, in my mind, overstated his claims. Every time I felt the author was telling me that one drink or another had changed the whole world, he gently stepped back and pointed out that this drink wasn't the only factor involved and that it fit into a larger picture. As a result, I never felt disbelieving or pulled out of the history.
The narrator was very competent and pleasant to listen to, clearly understandable at 2x listening speed.
I've already shared quite a lot from this book with my wife, and would recommend it as a casual and enjoyable listen to anyone.
Obviously not serious, academic history, but a light-hearted and entertaining tale told in such a fashion as to make you rather pleased that you're part of this ever-progressing march of history :)
I love his occasional flourishes and jaunty cheerful throw-aways that break the (necessary) monotony and bring a smile to your face while you're waiting in line at the supermarket. They're just frequent enough to enliven the story, and not so frequent that they're irritating and distracting. They perfectly complement the writing and aren't don't stick out from the rest of the narration like a sore thumb.Sean Runnette is a wonderful narrator, takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it's perfectly natural and almost soothing to listen to.
The story telling is wonderful, and I wish I could see maps of the locations throughout the world as they were told.
A great angle on human history, that these six drinks helped form, direct, and react to civilization and major events. Just fascinating.
I would not recommend this book as the narration is not particularly good and I found the usage of the politically correct BCE in place of BC extremely irritating!
I loved learning about the birth of each drink, and not only the birth but the sometimes huge impacts on history each one has had. I was disapointed though that the author wouldn't follow up with a drink. For examle the story starts with beer and moves up through time from there stopping once wine takes over, but I wish he would go back and talk about beer in other times in history not just its birth.
This is the first book I've listened to by Runnette and I though his narration was dry but I have a feeling the narration followed the writing.
safe in FL
Yes. I like books like this, similar to Rats, Lice and History and on how weapons changed civilizations. I thought the premise was interesting, but I think I could have written it myself, that is to say it was a little shallow in my opinion.
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
At first I found my attention flagging during this engrossing book. The few hours are about the development of beer and wine and some of the social customs associated with drinking. As the book progressed I found myself drawn into the history of distillation. The story of rum and how it intertwined with sugar and the markets it created. As the story progressed further it filled in the gaps of how these various drinks played pivotal roles in the world as we know it. A previous book I read, The Spice Trade, went into how the Europeans stole the spice trade from the Asians and Muslims. This explained how England got to be so powerful. They were the first industrial nation and they did the same thing. They colonized large parts of the world for things like tea. They initiated taxes on imports to raise revenue for the government and they installed transport systems wherever they went to increase the efficiency of moving goods from one place to another. Many people complained about the reader. I didn't think he was bad. Perhaps he seemed a bit serious, but globalization is no laughing matter. The book was written in simple, straightforward language and presented well. Like another listener said, it is perhaps a good overview. I find myself compelled to delve further into these vital commodities we imbibe in day after day.
Enjoying audiobooks daily!
So far this year, it was my fave non-fiction book.
All the info about Rum and Tea. It was amazing.
Coke VS Pepsi in the cold war
No. I listened in a week on car rides.
A fun history of beverages. Good times.
I would listen to this audiobook again. It is a fascinating take on the roles played by beer, wine, liquor, coffee, tea, and cola in the development of civilization, religion, politics, imperialism, colonialism, and just about any other ism you want to name.
If you like history told as a story, this is the book for you.
I learned a lot about the influence of beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea and cola shaping societies and historical events since the early civilizations. In fact, I am listening to this book for the 3rd time there is so much to learn from it. However, some histories are entertaining and others are more like dry encyclopedia articles and this is the latter. It is serious throughout in language and tone. There are many fascinating things to be learned, though, and these do come through. The reading style is just very direct and matter-of-fact, clean and clear with no distractions, but just as dry in tone as is the book. The 6 major units seem to get more interesting as the book advances, but that is perhaps because the more recent the history the more I am familiar with it already or that I can relate to it better.
Anyway, this book contains lots of fascinating information; in particular I think of the chapters on coffee and how coffee houses were so prevalent in the Arab world in the last millennium and also their importance in the flow of information and the debates on human rights and revolutionary movements in western Europe in the past several centuries.
Definitely worthwhile listening.