Last month, I was informed that the Blogging for Books program that sent me free books to review would be coming to an end this month. They recommended another program called First to Read which is basically the same deal, but I can only get the books in ebook versions. I’m really not a fan of ebooks. I’m old fashioned and want to actually turn pages and display my books on my bookshelf. Still, I decided to take the plunge and this is the first book I chose. On another note, I’m probably going to go off topic for the next couple of weeks as I give my brain a little rest from the Beatles so I can dive into more Fab Four adventures later this month with a clear head.
A Short History of Drunkenness: How, Why, Where, and When Humankind Has Gotten Merry from the Stone Age to the Present by Mark Forsyth is 256 pages long and will be released on May 8, 2018, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. It is exactly what it says it is and it is as witty as it sounds!
A Short History of Drunkenness starts at the very beginning of the invention or discovery of alcohol. Though there is no record of exactly when man found out about the inhibition releasing effects of fermented berries, Forsyth followed the clues and research the best he could to draft the story of early man’s drunken life. The author goes on to tell the history of the early Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Vikings and other cultures beliefs and rituals involving alcohol, and that of their Gods of beer, wine, gin and other libations.
This book follows the chronological history of intoxication from early man to American prohibition. I had hoped when I offered to review it that it would include modern day stories, like that of John Lennon getting drunk in L.A. and walking around with a sanitary napkin adhered to his head in the 1970’s, but unfortunately it did not (I’m sure if Mr. Forsyth had tried to include drunken stories of the rich and famous, the book would have been proven to be way to long!). Still, the lack of our living gods of music didn’t take anything away from this book.
The one drawback to this book is when the author (who’s born, bred and still living in London, England) breaks into a strange tirade in the last pages of the Prohibition chapter at the very end of the book:
All non-Americans agree that America is stupid. For that matter, quite a lot of Americans agree that American is quite peculiarly stupid, like an embarrassing cousin at a family wedding. American stupidity is famous, and of a quite special kind. It’s a unique sort of stupidity that allows them to put a chap on the moon…
There’s more, but I’ll let you read it. It’s a little offensive and I’m not sure why we deserved such a tongue lashing. I mean we (and by that I mean not me!) did elect a stupid teetotaling President who says and does stupid things and is hated by most of the world, but… I guess I can forgive Mr. Forsyth his discretions since the monarchy has never seemed to get over the fact that they no longer own the colonists! And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!