Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History” as Want to Read:
The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  203 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
La Fee Verte (or "The Green Fairy") has intoxicated artists, poets, and writers ever since the late eighteenth century. Stories abound of absinthe's druglike sensations of mood lift and inspiration due to the presence of wormwood, its infamous "special" ingredient, which ultimately leads to delirium, homicidal mania, and death. Opening with the sensational 1905 Absinthe Mu ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Grove Press (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Absinthe, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of Absinthe

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mike Lester
Sep 18, 2011 Mike Lester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*UPDATE - see below

Do you remember that commercial for Chuck Wagon dog food, the one with the miniature covered wagon cruising around and basically raising hell in this typical suburban home, all the while being chased by a desperately hungry Toto-like terrier? Do you remember the way the little wagon master would crack his whip and yell "Hyahhh!" as the wagon fishtailed around the corner somewhere between the bathroom and the kitchen? Well, let me tell you, pink elephants move just about the sa
...more
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Every time I go to my favorite liquor store I eye the beautiful green bottle of absinthe sitting near the counter, but have never given in. I still probably won't give in, but I can tell you that while reading this I kept thinking about trying it.

Baker's book explores the fascination and lure of absinthe among influential artists, poets and authors since the 1800s, as well as on the public at large. Many of the names are familiar: Van Gogh, Lautrec, Wilde, Rimbaud; the accounts of these celebra
...more
P.J. Kelley
Jun 04, 2014 P.J. Kelley rated it it was amazing
A good tangential review of French poets and poetry, pretty well referenced. This isn't a money grab, snippets of Google research. Absinthe itself is for poseurs now, but was probably better back when it was a stronger drink. According to the book, the absinthe now is much weaker.

With Flowers and With Woman
Charles Cros

With Flowers, and with Women,
With Absinthe, and with this Fire,
We can divert ourselves a while,
Act out our part in some drama.

Absinthe, on a winter evening,
Lights up in gree
...more
Trina
Oct 30, 2010 Trina rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Not a very smooth read, this one's more of a survey of where absinthe is referenced in art and literature. It jumps around from the late 19th century to the late 20th and briefly touches on references/cultural significance, historical provenance, the resurgence of absinthe in the contemporary U.S. and the U.K., the science of absinthe and its effects, and includes a neat little section reviewing a handful of current brands. There's also an appendix of writings from the late 19th century that fea ...more
Tony
Mar 02, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Pretty entertaining. If you know the art and literature/poetry of the times, then you definetly need to check this out. The book humanizes these artists that have gotten away with becoming quasi-martyrs. Many of their lives were filled with psycoactive drugs and young boys. If this was bohemian culture, I find it hard to belive that they were the only segment of French and British society that was caught up in their selfish exploration of "self".
There are connections between this countreculture
...more
Sarah
I’d never even heard of absinthe when I first read this book, but that was quickly remedied by this quirky, informative and well-written book. Stock full of mind-boggling facts (especially about the tragic and talented absinthe addicts) and interesting anecdotes, Baker creates an all-encompassing narrative of the cultural effects that this seemingly innocuous, yet highly addictive and dangerous, beverage.
Christina
Mar 23, 2010 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction


I'm glad I didn't allow my initial discouragement about this not being a big collection of absinthe short stories discourage me. In the end there was a few tales and poems about the subject and once I got over the authors cheeky style it was really just purely informative and i'm glad I read it.
Steph
Jun 12, 2010 Steph rated it it was amazing
This book examines the history and culture behind the mystery of the quintessential "green fairy," and explains the stigma behind the wonderful concoction. It makes me want to grab my glass, sugar cube, and slotted spoon right now!
Aaron the Pink Donut
Sep 13, 2007 Aaron the Pink Donut rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, absinthe
A nice wittily written 300+ page book about Absinthe. Covers the historical and cultural aspects of the drink in great detail. A great read.
Alexandur
Oct 16, 2014 Alexandur rated it liked it
Очаквах повече,а и самото заглавие може би ме подлъга,като цяло не можах да разбера идеята на автора за тази книга,но намерих и интересни моменти,цитати и персонажи...3/5
Cheryl
Sep 16, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
This book was very entertaining,how the author wrapped the history around this intoxicating drink.From Oscar Wilde to Paul Verlaine,Ernest Dowson, etc. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Kiki-chan
Oct 05, 2015 Kiki-chan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, non-fiction
Geniální! Jsem se poučila, pobavila a udělala si trošku pořádek v různých věcech z doslechu :) Škoda, že už se nedá sehnat :D
Denise
Nov 13, 2014 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just watching QI and I could answer all of the questions about absinthe. Then I remembered why! I'd read this book!
Eric Himes
Feb 03, 2008 Eric Himes rated it really liked it
Oscar Wilde said absinthe "...creates genius where it previously wasn't, and destroys it were it once was..."
Melissa
the green monster!
Carina Vicente
Sep 30, 2011 Carina Vicente rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reserch job. Funny, smart and dark, loved it.
Mark Spivak
Apr 03, 2012 Mark Spivak rated it liked it
An examination of the relationship between absinthe and the poets and painters who drank it.
Ashley Reiner
Sep 23, 2008 Ashley Reiner rated it liked it
Quite an interesting history of the green fairy
Nick Black
Dec 05, 2007 Nick Black rated it really liked it
It actually doesn't deserve more than two stars, but absinthe is so fucking fantastic that I gave it one more just for exquisite taste in subject matter. The fourth star is because Marcus Kwok, the best person in the world, gave it to me; it is thus full of love.

As opposed to reading this admittedly overrated claptrap about absinthe, just go drink it until you're blind in a gutter. Two weeks later, you won't remember either experience anyway.
Jennifer
Jennifer rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2012
Nick Casanas
Nick Casanas rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2017
Unnepher
Unnepher rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2017
Alec
Alec rated it liked it
Oct 06, 2011
James
James rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2014
Peter
Peter rated it liked it
Nov 12, 2014
Leila-Anne Constantina
Leila-Anne Constantina rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2009
Diana
Diana rated it liked it
Oct 03, 2016
KatherineMayWilliams
KatherineMayWilliams rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2012
Ser
Ser rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2016
Berna Labourdette
Berna Labourdette rated it really liked it
May 06, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle
  • Ready, Steady, Go! : The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London
  • Absinthe: History in a Bottle
  • Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians
  • Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet
  • Captain Freedom
  • The Story of V: Opening Pandora's Box
  • The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State
  • Wing Chun Kung Fu: Traditional Chinese Kung Fu for Self-Defense and Health
  • Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State
  • Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy's Greatest Science Fiction
  • The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato
  • Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi
  • Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
  • Great Maps
  • Vincent
  • Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby
  • Capote in Kansas

Share This Book