In this engaging history, Williams triumphantly restores rum's rightful place in history, taking readers from the slave plantations of 17th-century Barbados to the showdown between the Bacardi family and Fidel Castro over the control of the lucrative rights to the Havana Club label. Photos.In this engaging history, Williams triumphantly restores rum's rightful place in history, taking readers from the slave plantations of 17th-century Barbados to the showdown between the Bacardi family and Fidel Castro over the control of the lucrative rights to the Havana Club label. Photos.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-06-06 The Nation's Williams (Deserter: Bush's War on Military Families) offers a spirited-if rambling-discussion of the history and spread of rum, from the field-side stills of 17th-century Barbados to the scientifically calibrated factories of modern multinationals like Bacardi. His main point? That the "role of rum and drink in both causing and effecting the American Revolution has been filtered out" of our history books. Williams details the mechanics of the pre-Revolutionary triangles of trade: African slaves for the Caribbean sugarcane plantations were purchased with rum distilled in New England from Caribbean molasses. He deftly describes how the American colonists evaded British taxation of rum-making supplies, and relishes the notion of our patriotic forefathers as a bunch of rum-sozzled smugglers. His other discussions-on the use of rum rations by various countries' navies, the production of rum in other parts of the world, the efficacy of Prohibition and his own rum-tasting forays-are less focused. Readers also may tire of Williams's tendency to overwork the liquor metaphor: "cultural alembic," "heady cocktail," "good spirits," "the equation in a small tot," etc. 10 pages of b&w illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Colin Campbell. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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