February 01, 2008

Books: A History of the World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage

Tom Standage's very original book takes a look at six of the world's most popular drinks ~ beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca Cola ~ and traces their origins as well as looking at the political and economic impact they had on different eras of human history, going from the Mesopotamian era to the modern day.
The book is very readable and the author tells the story of each drink concisely but succinctly, illustrating just how profoundly important each drink has been at different stages of human history. We find out how the social and scientific advances made in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries were down to coffee and that the British Empire was largely shaped by tea. There is also an explanation offered for something I've long wondered about when it comes to tea ~ namely why the Chinese and Japanese are predominantly green tea drinkers, but in Europe it's black tea that is the more popular.
Very entertaining and it left me thirsty for more.

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