A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
Tom Standage, 2009

Premise: Exactly what it sounds like. The book traces the movement of history through the popular beverages of each era: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea and Coke.

This book is just pop history, but it’s well written and entertaining.

I knew most all of the big points being made here, but all of the supporting details were interesting. I liked reading about the origins (mythological and otherwise) of all the beverages, and the connections between the spread of certain drinks and the spread of certain cultures.

The 6 drinks in question have more in common than they have differences, but the exact relationship between people and each one is worth exploring. Some examples: I liked the specific reasons why people would drink each instead of water, and the way many drinks started out as “medicine” before becoming recreational. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the spread of coffeehouses, the ties between the tea trade and the opium trade, and how closely tied Coke used to be to the American military.

This was a great book to read on my commute; lightly educational without being a strain on my brain.

3 Stars - A Good Book


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