With characteristic elegance and delicious wit, Barbara Holland, ("a national treasure,"--"Philadelphia Inquirer") celebrates the age-old act of drinking in this gimlet-eyed survey of man's relationship with booze, since the joyful discovery, ten thousand years ago, of fermented fruits and grains. In this spirited paean to alcohol, two parts ...
With characteristic elegance and delicious wit, Barbara Holland, ("a national treasure,"--"Philadelphia Inquirer") celebrates the age-old act of drinking in this gimlet-eyed survey of man's relationship with booze, since the joyful discovery, ten thousand years ago, of fermented fruits and grains. In this spirited paean to alcohol, two parts cultural history, one part personal meditation, Holland takes readers on a bacchanalian romp through the Fertile Crescent, the Mermaid Tavern, Plymouth Rock, and Capitol Hill and reveals, as Faulkner famously once said, how civilization indeed begins with fermentation. Filled with tasty tidbits about distillers, bootleggers, taverns, hangovers, and Alcoholics Anonymous, " The Joy of Drinking" is a fascinating portrait of the world of pleasures fermented and distilled.
Having read and enjoyed nearly all of Ms. Holland's books, I was anxious to read her latest effort. The history lesson was interesting, but overall, the presentation wasn't nearly as amusing or thought-provoking as many of her previous works. Still, a good read.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-02-19 Holland, a prolific and wide-ranging writer (Gentlemen's Blood, among others), distills a considerable tonnage of fact and trivia into this casual, shot-sized volume, the kind once found in every libation-related library, tucked behind every bar next to the Mr. Boston guide and a dog-eared paperback joke collection. She has a breezy, whimsical style, perfectly suited to her swift romp across the histories and cultures of alcohol down through the ages. While disclosing facts about the drinking habits-and abuses-of characters like Mark Anthony, Samuel Pepys and Pope Leo XIII, Holland includes summaries of how various kinds of fermentations and distillates were developed, often accidentally, in cultures from ancient Arabia to present-day America, and in times from Ptolemy's to Prohibition. She includes several recipes for home-style "remedies" like elderberry wine and applejack, as well as diagrams and instructions for the construction of your own backyard still. It's the sort of book-length essay that makes a perfect Father's Day gift, with stocking-stuffer backlist potential in seasons to come. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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