We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
A History of the World in 6 Glasses | [Tom Standage]

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

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.
Regular Price:$20.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

The precursor to his equally excellent book on hunger through the ages, An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage here charts the developmental course of beverages and their significance for human progress. Standage is really a journalist and a technologist, so A History of the World in Six Glasses is not your average history book. The author is clearly well-researched, but it’s his parlaying of the facts into a cohesive evolutionary narrative that keeps things interesting. Liquid refreshment is an essential part of our existence, and Standage doesn’t simply map out the parallel developments of drink and civilization, but more excitingly, builds a strong case for how each drink has made foundational contributions to its era.

Earphones Award winner and Audie Award-winning producer Sean Runnette does a terrific job of letting beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola speak for themselves. Standage has set forth a tone that is highly interested, but not pedantic or overly exclamatory. Runnette knows just what it takes to fade away into the background, neither bombastically lecturing to the listener nor merely monotonously reading Standage’s text. Every pause is justified and every consonant is crisp. This is nothing less than expected from Runnette, who has been in the audiobook business for more than a decade and is the son of Grammy Award-winning producer John Runnette. As the beverage cultures advance, Runnette increasingly recedes, leaving the text to shine on its own surprising merits.

No matter what your choice of drink, hearing more about its influence on the world is actually quite engrossing. Of particular interest is the appendix at the end, where you can learn about exactly which modern beers most closely resemble the ale of yore, which ancient blends of tea are still available today, and so on. Standage also gives us a taste of the future and comes full circle by speculating on the new millennial prospects for water, that most basic of all beverages. An underrated gem of scholarship, A History of the World in Six Glasses is completely worth the listen for all the fascinating tidbits you will soak up and then deliver the next time you’re pouring a glass of wine at a dinner party, or meeting someone for coffee. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

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 different 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 beverage the same way again.

©2005 Tom Standage (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Standage starts with a bold hypothesis - that each epoch, from the Stone Age to the present, has had its signature beverage - and takes readers on an extraordinary trip through world history." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1800 )
5 star
 (598)
4 star
 (758)
3 star
 (357)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (29)
Overall
4.1 (1549 )
5 star
 (592)
4 star
 (598)
3 star
 (294)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (19)
Story
4.0 (1544 )
5 star
 (490)
4 star
 (643)
3 star
 (329)
2 star
 (53)
1 star
 (29)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Amazon Customer DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 04-09-12
    Amazon Customer DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 04-09-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Novel & engaging take of the historical narrative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it provides insights into the sweep of history that I never managed to absorb in high school history class, while at the same time providing interesting history and trivia on the beverages themselves.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Beer, but then I am biased. On the other hand, I found the section on beer to be one of the least compelling personally, but I believe this is primarily because I already knew much of the information provided on beer, while I'm a relative novice on the other five beverages.


    What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was decent but nothing to write home about. The strength of the audio format was in helping to wade through the initial pages. The book starts out fairly dry, and I would have had a harder time continuing had I been reading rather than being read to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really, but it was enjoyable in chunks.


    Any additional comments?

    I you like history and beverages, this is a slam dunk. If you like one or the other, probably still worth giving this one a go.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen West Sacramento, CA, United States 04-01-12
    Eileen West Sacramento, CA, United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "World History not History of Beer, Wine, etc."
    If you could sum up A History of the World in 6 Glasses in three words, what would they be?

    Once I stopped expecting a history of the beverage and realized that the author was summarizing aspects of world history as affected by the beverage I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the later material more so I think it helps to have a background understanding of the history to proivde context. A fun book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe United States 03-31-12
    Joe United States 03-31-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"
    What did you love best about A History of the World in 6 Glasses?

    Learning how society and drink flow together.


    What did you like best about this story?

    learning the different aspects of beer, wine, whiskey, brandy, and soda pop!


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    Sean used his voice very well to accent interesting facts about each of the six glasses.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me go (wow, really, that is cool) I enjoyed all of this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathleen Richmond, VA, United States 03-12-12
    Cathleen Richmond, VA, United States 03-12-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    186
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Coffee, tea & cola were the most interesting"

    Perhaps because the origins had more actual source material, I found the final three beverages more interesting to hear about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 03-05-12
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 03-05-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Life and Drink"
    What did you like best about A History of the World in 6 Glasses? What did you like least?

    It was a very interesting idea to follow the drinks that changed the world from beer to wine to coffee,tea,cola and now


    Would you be willing to try another book from Tom Standage? Why or why not?

    Yes. I will read the Victorian Internet sometime soon.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    Yes..he was ok.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this was a very unique approach to history, and it was fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 02-22-12
    John 02-22-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderful blend of history that comes full circle"
    What did you love best about A History of the World in 6 Glasses?

    unique perspective on history and challenge for further cultural development


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The epilogue-civilization comes full circle back to water


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderfully organized and detailed historical facts presented from perspective of fluids-essential element to life

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor United States 02-16-12
    Victor United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2011

    DocSugar

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Drink up"
    What did you love best about A History of the World in 6 Glasses?

    How the author made the history of the world dependent on our social drinking habits


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tea. I drink from 4 to 10 cups per day and it was fascinating the role it played in history


    What three words best describe Sean Runnette’s voice?

    Early on, flat.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Coffee, tea or milk or ...


    Any additional comments?

    I think this book would have been very hard to read because of the dryness of the first few chapters but as an Audible book it was perfect to have it read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Costa Mesa, CA, United States 02-15-12
    Helen Costa Mesa, CA, United States 02-15-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Who knew drinking was so influential?"
    If you could sum up A History of the World in 6 Glasses in three words, what would they be?

    surprising, informative, well documented


    What other book might you compare A History of the World in 6 Glasses to and why?

    unique


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    Sean delivered the information as a person at a dinner party might be sharing information, with humor and ease.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it was good to have time to digest each of the sections before starting on the next. I found myself going back to previous sections, at times.


    Any additional comments?

    I was expecting a book that had a story running through it, but found that it was a reporting of information. While this might seem a dry approach in some instances, this book hooked me in as I became more curious about the next revelations. It really gives a great perspective on the importance of things that we take for granted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 02-14-12
    Kim 02-14-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    161
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting material"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The content was very interesting. What a refreshing (no pun intended!) way of looking at history!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of the World in 6 Glasses?

    After reading this book, I was so fascinated that I watched a documentary on coffee and one on beer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kjell United States 02-13-12
    Kjell United States 02-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining, engaging, and informative."
    Would you listen to A History of the World in 6 Glasses again? Why?

    Yes, it is full of interesting tidbits that I would like to remember for that next cocktail party.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.