Drinking in America

Drinking in America

Our Secret History

Book - 2015 | First edition
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Grand Central Pub
In DRINKING IN AMERICA, bestselling author Susan Cheever chronicles our national love affair with liquor, taking a long, thoughtful look at the way alcohol has changed our nation's history. This is the often-overlooked story of how alcohol has shaped American events and the American character from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.

Seen through the lens of alcoholism, American history takes on a vibrancy and a tragedy missing from many earlier accounts. From the drunkenness of the Pilgrims to Prohibition hijinks, drinking has always been a cherished American custom: a way to celebrate and a way to grieve and a way to take the edge off. At many pivotal points in our history-the illegal Mayflower landing at Cape Cod, the enslavement of African Americans, the McCarthy witch hunts, and the Kennedy assassination, to name only a few-alcohol has acted as a catalyst.

Some nations drink more than we do, some drink less, but no other nation has been the drunkest in the world as America was in the 1830s only to outlaw drinking entirely a hundred years later. Both a lively history and an unflinching cultural investigation, DRINKING IN AMERICA unveils the volatile ambivalence within one nation's tumultuous affair with alcohol.

Baker & Taylor
Presents an exploration of the history of drinking in the United States and its effects on the American character. 35,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Presents an exploration of the history of drinking in the United States, discussing how alcohol has shaped American history and character from the seventeenth century to the present.

Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455513871
Branch Call Number: 394.1309 CHEEVER
Characteristics: x, 258 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 15, 2016

"The United States' history with alcohol is the story of the tension between two poles: temperance and intemperance, drinking and abstinence, liquor and sobriety, addiction and recovery. Our country has been, at times, the drunkest country in the world; our country has been, at times, one of the least drunk countries in the world." As somebody whose been known to enjoy a drink (or six!), I enjoy reading books about drinking, both historical ones and recipe ones. I thought this would be about the history of drink in America and, while it is, it also focuses more on the destructive aspects of drinking and the many alcoholics in our history. Given that Cheever is the daughter of a famous writer who struggled with drinking (John Cheever) and is a recovering alcoholic, perhaps this approach is not surprising. It's fitfully interesting, starting with the Pilgrims landing because they were out of beer, going through the Revolution, which was partially planned in taverns, and then coming to a screeching halt with Prohibition, before picking up again and becoming a vice for a President (Nixon). Lots of famous figures float through and there are plenty of good anecdotes, but an uncertain tone and a lack of organization brings it down.


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