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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,805 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Standage Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 BC was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece, wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in eighteenth-century Europe, they became a twentieth-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.

For Tom Standage, each drink is a different kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite beverage the same way again.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The Economist‘s technology editor has the ability to connect the smallest detail to the big picture and a knack for summarizing vast concepts in a few sentences.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by doreen | 2/4/2014

    " A History of the World in 6 Glasses is a delightfully informative book documenting human history through the spectrum of six beverages: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola. It's a fun way of looking at history, and seeing what a major role these drinks have played in the course of human life. Some of the events these drinks have played a major role in include the slave trade, the French Revolution, the American Revolution and the Opium Wars between Britain and China. It's a wonderful book to read for food-lovers and those who like history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jeff Bush | 2/4/2014

    " Fascinating. History interpreted from the perspective of what we drink. The crazy thing is that it works, with some important historical implications. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer Stuart | 2/3/2014

    " This isn't a book about branding, but it's full of interesting facts about the branding and marketing of the beverages discussed in the book and about consumerism in general that I, as a communications professional, found fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adria232 | 2/1/2014

    " Well written and very entertaining. Seamlessly integrates the advent of man's six favorite beverages with the historical events surrounding them. Makes you think whenever you order your next beverage. "

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About the Author
Author Tom Standage

Tom Standage is business editor at the Economist magazine and the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, The Turk, The Neptune File, and The Victorian Internet. He has also covered science and technology for a number of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and Wired. He holds a degree in engineering and computer science from Oxford University and lives in Greenwich, England, with his wife and daughter.