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The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  18 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)
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Mike Lester
*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
P.J. Kelley
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
Nancy Oakes
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
Trina
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
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
Alexandur
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
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.
Denise
Just watching QI and I could answer all of the questions about absinthe. Then I remembered why! I'd read this book!
Nick Black
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.
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


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
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
A nice wittily written 300+ page book about Absinthe. Covers the historical and cultural aspects of the drink in great detail. A great read.
Eric Himes
Oscar Wilde said absinthe "...creates genius where it previously wasn't, and destroys it were it once was..."
Mark Spivak
An examination of the relationship between absinthe and the poets and painters who drank it.
Carina Vicente
Great reserch job. Funny, smart and dark, loved it.
Ashley Reiner
Quite an interesting history of the green fairy
Melissa
the green monster!
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