Episode 76: Drunk
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Our Guest is Edwart Slingerland, author of the book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization. Here are some other suggestions from Chris Anderson:
The Brewers Tale: A History of the World According to Beer, by William Bostwick – Bostwick is the beer critic for the Wall Street Journal and knows a thing or two about beer. This is a look at various types of beers and where they fit into the societies that they come from. It also looks at how the beers came about. The author then tries to recreate these historical brews at home. This is a fun book. It is NOT high-brow history. If you want a fun read this is great. If you are looking for something more in-depth and scholarly you might need to look somewhere else.
Wine and War: The French, The Nazis and France’s Greatest Treasure, by Donald & Petie Kladstrup – This is one of my favorite World War II books. It is a quick, fun read that I pick up and re-read every couple of years. While short and easy to read, it is a wonderful introduction to a fascinating topic. Despite its brevity, the authors do a wonderful job of discussing the issue of collaboration during the occupation and in explaining the importance of wine to France during the war. Highly recommended.
The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition, by W.J. Rorabaugh-From 1790 until 1840 Americans consumed more distilled spirits per capita than at any time during the country’s history. Rorabaugh’s book takes a fascinating look at the profound importance alcohol and the rituals of alcohol consumption had during the formative years of the American republic; a time when the produce of Washington’s distillery was most active.
Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World, by Mark Pendergrast – Much like Wine and War, Uncommon Grounds is a lightly written history book that says quite a lot. It covers the whole history of coffee and its consumption from Abyssinia to Starbucks. It then uses this story to touch on larger topics like international trade, slavery, global warning, corporate governance etc. If you are familiar with books like Cod and Salt and you enjoyed them, then you’ll enjoy Uncommon Grounds.
For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World’s Favorite Drink, by Sarah Rose – A fun recounting of the 1848 secret mission of Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to steal the secrets of tea cultivation and production from China for the East India Company. A bit of the backstory to Great Britain’s favorite drink.
For God, Country and Coca Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes It, by Mark Pendergrast – Pendergrast gives this most recognizable of American drinks the same treatment that he did in his book on coffee. In this case, the book also tells the reader quite a bit about America during what many historians call, “The American Century.” I promise you’ll learn something new about the U.S. in this book.