By Rod Phillips
No matter if as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a continuing and infrequently debatable function in social existence. In his leading edge ebook at the attitudes towards and intake of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and monetary heritage, uncovering the tensions among alcoholic beverages as fit staples of day-by-day diets and as gadgets of social, political, and spiritual nervousness. within the city facilities of Europe and the United States, the place it was once noticeable as fitter than untreated water, alcohol won a foothold because the drink of selection, however it has been extra regulated by way of governmental and spiritual specialists greater than the other commodity. As a possible resource of social disruption, alcohol created unstable limitations of applicable and unacceptable intake and broke via boundaries of sophistication, race, and gender.
Phillips follows the ever-changing cultural meanings of those effective potables and makes the remarkable argument that a few societies have entered "post-alcohol" levels. His is the 1st ebook to envision and clarify the meanings and results of alcohol in such intensity, from international and long term perspectives.
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Additional resources for Alcohol: A History
Fermentation might have begun in the crushing vat, but it continued and ended in the large clay jars used to store wine. Once each jar was full, it was sealed with a pottery cap and made airtight with a lump of Nile clay. Small holes were made near the top of the jar to enable the carbon dioxide (along with alcohol, a product of fermentation) to escape while the fermentation was in progress, so that the jars did not crack or explode under pressure of the gas. The holes were later closed to protect the wine from air, which would oxidize and spoil the wine.
Some nineteenth-century Christian theologians were so horrified at the thought that their god might have approved of alcohol that they reinterpreted the Bible to show that Jesus’s first miracle was to turn water into grape juice, not wine. Islam and some other religions banned the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants. Alcohol has been blamed for illnesses, insanity, accidents, immorality, impiety, social disorder, catastrophes, crime, and death. From the Middle Ages to the present, it has been a convention for some commentators to see alcohol as the core problem from which all other problems flow.
Like other mammals and birds, humans might well have preferred fruit that was optimally ripe, when it was brightly colored and eye-catching, rather than when it was either underripe or beginning to rot. Yet they might also have gathered the more easily accessible overripe—and possibly fermenting—fruit from the ground where it had fallen and have thus consumed alcohol on an occasional or regular basis at the end of each ripening season. If they made the connection between eating overripe fruit or berries and feeling a pleasant sense of light-headedness, they might well have made it a regular practice and looked forward to each year’s vintage.
Alcohol: A History by Rod Phillips