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Tom Standage
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A History Of The World In Six Glasses

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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  12,411 Ratings  ·  1,553 Reviews
Kako se istorija menjala, tako je svako vreme, mesto i svaka kultura imala svoje omiljeno piće; od prvih naseobina iz kamenog doba do velikih dvorana za gozbe u staroj Grčkoj, ili čuvenih kafeterija iz vremena prosvetiteljstva. U nekim slučajevima ta su pića imala i neočekivan uticaj na tok istorije. Baš kao što arheolozi istoriju dele na različite periode (kameno, bronzan ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Max
Oct 13, 2009 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, let me just say that if the concept of this book interests you, by all means you should read it. It's light and breezy, and you stand to lose very little by taking the time. However, I have to say that my feelings about this book are very conflicted. In terms of quality, the book is clearly delineated into two halves: the half discussing alcoholic drinks, and the half discussing caffeinated drinks. Throughout the first portion of the book, which focuses on beer, wine, and spirits, I w ...more
Christian Kitchen
Whoever the marketing guy was behind Erik Larson's "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America," he was a genius. Because honestly, I don't really want to read a 447 page history of the Chicago World's Fair--and I'm guessing, neither do you. But, if you were hoodwinked into believing (as I was) that Larson's opus was an inspired bit of comparison between the architect of the 1893 World's Fair and a diabolically brilliant psychopath and kept reading b ...more
Margitte
I noticed this book on a few friend's 'to-read' lists and thought I should write a review on it since I have read it a few years back and it is still very much part of our family's proud ...intellectual history...8-)

We do not realize how necessary fluids are for our survival. As Tom Standage states, we can live without food for quite a while, but will die very soon of fluid deprivation. In fact, aren't we looking for water on Mars before we migrate there? :-))

Initially I did not plan to buy thi
...more
Casey
This book should really be called "A History of the Western World in 6 Glasses," as it doesn't consider the drinks of South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and much of Asia. Indeed, tea is considered only through the lens of the British empire, even though the formal Japanese tea service is arguably more interesting than a British tea party. Even as a Western history, it kind of fails, as there's a large gap between wine production in the Roman empire and the distillation of rum in Barbado ...more
Jim
Sep 29, 2016 Jim marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
An interesting way of breaking history up by beer, wine, whiskey, coffee, tea, & cola. Each came into its own in our history & may well have driven it in some ways. The basic idea along with a thumbnail of each is laid out in the introduction pretty well. Well enough that I didn't want to continue listening after about half the first section on beer. I didn't care much for the narrator & that wasn't helped by repetitious writing. This would probably be a great book to read, though.

It
...more
Stefan Burrell
May 07, 2012 Stefan Burrell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, I've read twice. It takes you from the formation of beer and society in Mesopotamia, to the use of wine as currency and how wine types represented a social classification system in Greece and Rome. It went through spirits and colonial time: We only have whiskey because it took too long to ship scotch and brandy by wagon out west, so we made corn whiskey. To how coffee was at first banned in Muslim society and called black wine - till they figured that it caused a different state of mi ...more
Xxertz
It is funny how we prefer certain aspects of books. Another review here enjoyed the non-alcoholic drinks better than the alcoholic drinks due to the amount of history and economics it covered, but I found the alcohol drinks to be far more interesting, in depth, and entertaining. Overall, I liked this book and learned a lot about how these drinks affected trade and became popular worldwide.
Jonathan
6 Glasses zeroes in on six liquids--from beer in ancient Mesopotamia to wine and spirits to coffee and tea and finally to cola and the globalization of brands such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola--and targets each as being responsible (or at least culpable) for the shaping of cultures (quite likely), writing itself (quite possible), and industrialization (believable, especially in light of Coke).

Each of the libations receives its proper dues. The organization of the book itself is very well done, and the
...more
Domenico
Sep 08, 2013 Domenico rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, food
I seem to be in a phase where I like books that show me the hidden life of the everyday things all around us, especially food and drink. A few years ago I read "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany", by Bill Buford, which started me on this quest, which was followed by several more books, including "The Omnivore's Dilemma", by Michael Pollan. Most recently I read "The Search for God and Guinness", by Stephen ...more
Starry
Sep 10, 2010 Starry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I saw this in my sister's to-read list and, boy, am I glad! This was a really fun book to read.
For me.
It was not so fun for my husband, who was stuck sitting next to me and hearing, "Hey, listen to this --" and "Here's something interesting --". But now I'm done, so he can read all the little leftover bits where I managed to hold my tongue and let him enjoy his own book (which probably wasn't half so interesting).

The book attempts to tell the history of the world using six beverages that illus
...more
SpookySoto
Dec 14, 2016 SpookySoto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-ficcion
This was a great book. If you're interested in history and beverages I highly recommend it to you.

It explores world history from the point of view of the discovery and consumption of several key beverages: beer, wine, rum, coffee, tea and cola.

I learned a lot. My favorite chapters were the ones about coffee.

I recommend it, specially in audiobook format.
Andy
Sep 09, 2012 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pop non-fiction with clever gimmick of six beverages to summarize world history. Plenty of interesting factoids.

One problem is that the flip side of the cleverness of the gimmick is that all sorts of beverages are left out. The human consumption of animal milk, for example, is an interesting story with important implications but we don't learn about that.

Another problem is that the research does not appear to be very deep and so some of the factoids don't seem to be true. For example, tea is c
...more
Praxedes
It is possible to view history through almost any lens...in this case the author chose drinks to tell a story of the world's development. Filled with interesting facts and carefully researched, the author deftly recounts human/political/religious events from the perspective of six different drinks. Interestingly, half of them contain no alcohol!

I would have rated it higher were it not for the sometimes confusing prose. Transitional phrases from one subtopic to the next did not have the flow need
...more
Ryan
Sep 23, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lot of fun. Tom Standage is a writer for The Economist, and this book, A History of the World in 6 glasses, reads well. It takes you through 6 chapters dedicated to: beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea, and Coke.

Beer was a big part of the development of domestication and agriculture, and he goes through how it probably developed and what customs still survive. Beer used to be drunk from one huge jar, and everyone would use a straw, so it was a very communal thing - one of the
...more
Steve
Dec 12, 2014 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An extremely interesting history of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola - and, yes, to some extent, water - so, it's really 7 - through the lens of world events, the evolution of civilization, colonization, trade, politics, culture, religion, health, war, and, of course, economics....

This is a fast, fun read, if for no other reason than it offers relatively compact, easy to digest (!), histories of the six drinks/beverages in the context of, well, the history of the world. Particularly i
...more
Zoë
May 28, 2015 Zoë rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who's never really enjoyed "proper" history, I'm always surprised when I find myself enjoying a history book. This managed to both entertain and educate me, because with just the 6 drinks highlighted the author managed to create a brief history of civilisation as we know it. It really is amazing how much the fashions for certain drinks (and/or the lack of taxation on certain drinks) has shaped the world!

I think the last chapter, on CocaCola, let the book down slightly though. For the
...more
Laura
May 10, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, nonfiction
Meh... Where it was good, it was GREAT. Oddly (for me, 'cos I don't touch the stuff) the section on coffee was the most interesting.
Where it wasn't great, it ran to boring. Part of me wanted more, thinking it had to be more interesting than what I was reading. But after a while, part of me thought maybe it's just not, and more would be only more of the same.
If you're already interested in this book, go ahead & pick it up. You'll get through it; you will learn some interesting facts; and you
...more
Jon Biggerstaff
Jan 26, 2014 Jon Biggerstaff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy history. I enjoy libations. Standage combines them both to wield a fascinating book on how 6 distinct beverages helped to shape and, at times, even define a time-period. From the Neolithic period and how the Mesopotamians stumbled into making beer, to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Coca-Cola, it impresses the idea that beverages were not simply for enjoyment but were often catalysts of change in our society and in global influence.
Rebecca
May 06, 2016 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Your run-of-the-mill gimmicky nonfiction. This one tries organize world history through the lens of beer/wine/spirits/coffee/tea/soda. It drags here and there, but does have some fun facts I hadn't heard before. Kind of fun, kind of forgettable. Feels like virtue for being true, but doesn't leave a great deal of understanding in its wake.
Patrick Peterson
I read this book since my son recommended it to me, while reading it for his World History AP class this year. I see why he liked it and I generally did too. It is fun and breezy and covers some fascinating ground that is indeed important, and grossly undercovered in most books or courses in history.

However, the book is a bit presumptuous in stating it is a “History of the World…” or that the six drinks have “defined humankind’s past.” Neither statement is totally true, except in a very loose wa
...more
David
Aug 24, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-history
An enjoyable and readable book, like an edition of The Economist about things that happened a long time ago. It has the point of view (if you wish, you may call them “biases”) of that magazine (the author's employer), meaning, it is generally cheerful, it admires and celebrates commerce as heroic, and it doesn't spend time getting excessively hot and bothered about the exploitation and misery that inevitably accompanies human commercial activity.

I hope that the author doesn't read the reviews he
...more
Elizabeth
Feb 04, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, food
I didn't finish this book. We went to the library Sunday and I decided just to go ahead and return it.

In short:
Beer - Mesopotamia, liquid bread, drink of the people
Wine - Greeks, symposia, democracy
Spirits - Colonialism, Slave Trade, Revolution
Coffee - Age of reason, academic discourse, people aren't drunk all the time
Tea - British Empire
Coke - America

The key point i took away is that what every drink has in common is an alternative to water which could be contaminated. all these drinks involve
...more
Nancy (NE)
Nov 11, 2014 Nancy (NE) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A small but very interesting read. A History Of The World In 6 Glasses is a generalized overview of how beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and coca cola have steered the course of western civilization. Influences were farther reaching than I would have imagined. These beverages determined social class, sparked a revolution, affected international trade and politics, perpetuated imperialism and had a hand in globalization among other things. In his epilogue Standage stresses the importance of clean ...more
Bandit
Dec 08, 2015 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I certainly do love a good thematic history. This was a very good one at that. Standage doesn't offer much humor, which is something that lights up nonfiction for me, but that's literally the only drawback. Otherwise, it's a terrific, competent, erudite, informative and accessible volume that just might make one pause to think with appreciation of history before having a drink next time. Standage is also notably unbiased in his writing, all viewpoints and perspectives were represented with impre ...more
Carrie Emmerson
Jul 19, 2015 Carrie Emmerson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic overview of world history as told through the lens of different drinks. A quick and approachable read, I would recommend it to anyone who would like to get a broad overview of world history told from a fun perspective. I would recommend to AP World History students, except for the fact that the first three drinks are alcoholic and I'm not sure it's a great idea to be promoting at school. Having said that, I hope to share some excerpts about coffee and Coca Cola (and possibly tea) with ...more
Robert Greenberger
Beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola apparently make the world go round. Tom Stabndage's brief survey of history through the development and spread of these beverages is rather entertaining and occasionally enlightening. You're left wanting to know more about the development, especially with a more global perspective, but overall this is a satisfying and refreshing look at world history from a unique perspective.
Quinn
Sep 01, 2015 Quinn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had a really interesting concept: to tell history broken down into the drinks that were popular during that time, but unfortunately, this book is basically a textbook and is written with the the manor and vocabulary of one. I found it a bit hard to read, but there were some interesting points like learning about Coca-Cola and how the other speculated on going to Mars and the effect it would have on the human race.
Katherine Reay
Fascinating book -- loved looking at history through a new lens -- or a new glass.
Conor Keating
Jun 07, 2015 Conor Keating rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book
Williwaw
Oct 14, 2012 Williwaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apologies to all here: much of what follows are notes that I took on some interesting points, so please forgive the rambling, disorganized narrative.

The "Six Glasses" are: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola. This book is a history of the world through the lens of the six glasses, so it's selective in a geographical sense, but fairly comprehensive in a temporal sense.

Standage's book is just the right length: long enough to include important details, but short enough to keep the read
...more
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Tom Standage is a journalist and author from England. A graduate of Oxford University, he has worked as a science and technology writer for The Guardian, as the business editor at The Economist, has been published in Wired, The New York Times, and The Daily Telegraph, and has published five books, including The Victorian Internet[1][2]. This book explores the historical development of the telegrap ...more
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“A billion hours ago, human life appeared on earth. A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged. A billion seconds ago, the Beatles changed music. A billion Coca-Colas ago was yesterday morning. —Robert Goizueta, chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company, April 1997” 7 likes
“Greek customs such as wine drinking were regarded as worthy of imitation by other cultures. So the ships that carried Greek wine were carrying Greek civilization, distributing it around the Mediterranean and beyond, one amphora at a time. Wine displaced beer to become the most civilized and sophisticated of drinks—a status it has maintained ever since, thanks to its association with the intellectual achievements of Ancient Greece.” 6 likes
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