Moira Burke's Reviews > A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
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Feb 21, 10


"NPR discussed this last year on All Things Considered, and since then I'd been looking forward to reading it. Standage describes the influence of six beverages (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola) on world history. More than just in the Boston Tea Party, these drinks were integral to the movement of people, ideas, and industry, and each affected international policy in its own right. For example, beer and wine were originally consumed far more than water, because the fermentation killed bacteria. And when the British Navy squeezed lime into their rum, they unknowingly reduced the incidence of scurvy, increasing their control over the Atlantic and earning the name \limeys.\"" Water, particularly the ridiculous industry surrounding bottling, appears in the final chapter. Did you know that 40% of the bottled water sold in the US is tap water, and that both bacteria and taste tests cannot distinguish bottled water from tap? Bottled water is a $46 billion industry internationally. Meanwhile, providing safe drinking water and sanitation to the 1/5 of the world's population without it would cost about $10 billion more than the United Nations has budgeted for it. Wouldn't it be nice if one brand marketed itself as \""water with a conscience\"" and donated profits to international irrigation and sanitation?"""
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