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Thursday, June 21, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage @tomstandage @TantorAudio

AUTHOR: Tom Standage
NARRATOR: Sean Runnette
PUBLISHER: Tantor Media
PUBLICATION DATE: March 25, 2011 (first published 2005)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 38 mins
GENRE: History, Nonfiction, Food and Drink
ISBN: 9781452601496
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 twenty-first 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.


What a neat way to look a history! I enjoyed learning how six key beverages (three alcoholic and three caffeinated) played a role throughout history. 

Aside from air, consumption of fluids is one of the most important necessities of life. Our bodies can withstand the absence of food for far longer than it can survive without fluids. This is why the earliest people settled near a freshwater source like a lake or stream, and the focus of this book is on how drinks (in particular: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola) have continued to have an important role throughout history.

Why these drinks, do you ask? The author explains that, just as it is possible to divide world history based on the use of different materials (such as the Stone Age or the Bronze Age), it can also be divided by the beverages that dominated certain periods in history.

This book was a fun and informative read. Unfortunately, many nonfiction history books are dry and boring but this most certainly was not! The section that I found most interesting was learning about beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Sean Runnette is a new-to-me narrator, and I enjoyed the tone of his voice. He was pleasant to listen to, and I'm glad that I chose listening to the audiobook instead of reading it. Here is a sample of the narration:


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

This book qualifies as:


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