A Short History of Drunkenness
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A Short History of Drunkenness

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Description

By the author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestseller The EtymologiconAlmost every culture on earth has drink, and where there's drink there's drunkenness. But in every age and in every place drunkenness is a little bit different. It can be religious, it can be sexual, it can be the duty of kings or the relief of peasants. It can be an offering to the ancestors, or a way of marking the end of a day's work. It can send you to sleep, or send you into battle.A Short History of Drunkenness traces humankind's love affair with booze from our primate ancestors through to Prohibition, answering every possible question along the way: What did people drink? How much? Who did the drinking? Of the many possible reasons, why? On the way, learn about the Neolithic Shamans, who drank to communicate with the spirit world (no pun intended), marvel at how Greeks got giddy and Romans got rat-arsed, and find out how bars in the Wild West were never quite like in the movies. This is a history of the world at its inebriated best.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 23mm | 314g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • VIKING
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241297680
  • 9780241297681
  • 827

Review quote

Sparkling, erudite and laugh out loud funny. Mark Forsyth is the kind of guide that drunks, teetotallers and light drinkers dream of to explain the ins and outs of alcohol use and abuse since the beginning of time. One of my books of the year. Immensely enjoyable. -- Peter Frankopan, author of 'The Silk Roads' Haha! . . . Highly suitable for Xmas! -- Margaret Atwood This entertaining study of drunkenness makes for a racy sprint through human history -- Christopher Hart * Sunday Times * Forsyth's jokes are snappy and well delivered. Unlike most comical writers he never falls into the trap of confusing long-windedness with irony -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday * A brisk and brilliant romp through our hiccoughing history, drenched with wit. Bloody marvellous from first sip to last burp -- Jason Hazeley, co-author of the Ladybird series (including 'The Ladybird Book of the Quiet Night In' and 'The Ladybird Book of the Hangover' Reading like a TED talk delivered by a stand-up comedian, this made me laugh out loud more than my first ever night out on absinthe. As essential as a hip flask or a pack of pork scratchings for any true connoisseur of booze. A Short History of Drunkenness is this year's Chateauneuf-du-Pape of Christmas books, no less. Bloody entertaining. -- Emlyn Rees, author of 'The Very Hungover Caterpillar' and 'We're Going on a Bar Hunt' Sometimes you see a book title that simply gladdens the heart. Everyone I showed this book to either smiled broadly or laughed out loud . . . This is a book of some brilliance - probably best consumed with a restorative glass of something by your side. -- Marcus Berkmann * Daily Mail * As Mark Forsyth brilliantly shows, civilisation is built on booze. Egypt (beer), Greece and Rome (wine) depended on alcohol to create their mighty works. Where man drinks, he prospers, and vice versa. A toast to this spirits-fuelled spirits-lifter. Staggering! -- Harry Mount I thought I knew quite a bit about drinking but A Short History of Drunkenness made me look at inebriation anew. Each chapter amazed, challenged and stimulated me so much that I needed a stiff drink at the end of it. -- Henry Jeffreys, author of Empire of Booze This charming book proved so engrossing that while reading it I accidentally drank two bottles of wine without realising. -- Rob Temple, author of Very British Problems Everything we ever thought about Christmas is wrong! Great stuff -- Matthew Parris on 'A Christmas Cornucopia' Mark Forsyth wears his considerable knowledge lightly. He also writes beautifully -- David Marsh, on 'The Elements of Eloquence' * Guardian * This year's must-have stocking filler ... the essential addition to the library in the smallest room is Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon -- Ian Sansom * Guardian * Mark imparts knowledge about Christmas traditions from the essential to the (very) abstruse in wry and sardonic style. An effortless and enjoyable way to learn more about this fulcrum of our calendar -- Paul Smiddy, Former Head of pan-European retail research, HSBC, on 'A Christmas Cornucopia' With his casual elegance and melodious voice, Mark Forsyth has an anachronistic charm totally at odds with the 21st century * Sunday Times South Africa on'The Horologicon' * [The Etymologicon is] a perfect bit of stocking filler for the bookish member of the family, or just a cracking all-year-round-read. Highly recommended * The Spectator * As good as promised - could have been thrice as long -- Ben Schott, on 'The Elements of Eloquence' Why did humans settle down? 'The traditional line is that we did so in order to grow food'. So obviously the next step was deciding who should sort out drinks, says Mark Forsyth. Sounds right to me! . . . Laughing out loud . . . charming new book -- Peter Frankopan, author of 'The Silk Roads' Witty and revelatory. Blooming brilliant -- Raymond Briggs on 'A Christmas Cornucopia'show more

About Mark Forsyth

Born in London in 1977, Mark Forsyth (a.k.a The Inky Fool) was given a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary as a christening present and has never looked back. His book The Etymologicon was a Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and his TED Talk 'What's a snollygoster?' has had more than half a million views. He has also written a specially commissioned essay 'The Unknown Unknown' for Independent Booksellers Week and the introduction for the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary. He lives in London with his dictionaries, and blogs at blog.inkyfool.com.show more

Review Text

Sparkling, erudite and laugh out loud funny. Mark Forsyth is the kind of guide that drunks, teetotallers and light drinkers dream of to explain the ins and outs of alcohol use and abuse since the beginning of time. One of my books of the year. Immensely enjoyable. Peter Frankopan, author of 'The Silk Roads'show more