Drinking in America

Drinking in America

Our Secret History

Book - 2015
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Cheever chronicles our national love affair with liquor, taking a long, thoughtful look at the way alcohol has changed our nation's history. From the drunkenness of the Pilgrims to Prohibition hijinks, drinking has always been a way to celebrate and a way to grieve and a way to take the edge off. At many pivotal points in our history, alcohol has acted as a catalyst. Discover the volatile ambivalence within our nation's tumultuous affair with alcohol.
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2015
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781455513871
1455513873
Branch Call Number: 394.120973 C415D 2015
Characteristics: x, 258 pages ; 24 cm

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lukasevansherman
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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