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By Rod Phillips

Even if as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a continuing and infrequently debatable position in social existence. In his leading edge publication at the attitudes towards and intake of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and monetary historical past, uncovering the tensions among alcoholic beverages as fit staples of day-by-day diets and as items of social, political, and spiritual nervousness. within the city facilities of Europe and the US, the place it used to be visible as more healthy than untreated water, alcohol won a foothold because the drink of selection, however it has been extra regulated through governmental and spiritual gurus greater than the other commodity. As a possible resource of social disruption, alcohol created risky limitations of applicable and unacceptable intake and broke via obstacles of sophistication, race, and gender.

Phillips follows the ever-changing cultural meanings of those effective potables and makes the wonderful argument that a few societies have entered "post-alcohol" levels. His is the 1st e-book to envision and clarify the meanings and results of alcohol in such intensity, from worldwide and long term perspectives.

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The focus of the book is Europe, and there is extensive treatment of North America, too. The justification is that, even though alcoholic beverages might have originated elsewhere, and were certainly consumed throughout most of the world, Europeans integrated alcohol more extensively, and in greater volumes, into their cultures than people of any other region. In time, they extended their alcoholic beverages and, to some extent, their alcohol cultures to the wider world. Alcohol became one of the fields of contact, cooperation, and conflict that engaged Europeans and others in the processes of imperialism, colonization, and eventually, decolonization.

Alcohol became one of the fields of contact, cooperation, and conflict that engaged Europeans and others in the processes of imperialism, colonization, and eventually, decolonization. I have tried for a global perspective in this book, but in doing so I have given priority to the story of the expansion of European alcohol, rather than to analyzing drinking cultures in regions such as Asia and the Pacific, in their own right. I think that approach makes the book thematically more coherent. I wish to acknowledge the authors of all the material I have used and to thank the staffs of the various libraries and archives I have used.

Alcohol is a colorless liquid that has, in itself, no material, cultural, or moral value. But like many other commodities, it has been ascribed complicated and often contradictory sets of values that have varied over time and place, and that are interwoven with the complexities of power, gender, class, ethnicity, and age in the societies in which it is consumed. All these values derive fundamentally from the action of alcohol on the human nervous system. Readers who have consumed alcohol will recognize one or more of the stages of intoxication that begin with the first sip of alcohol, whether it is beer, whiskey, wine, a cocktail, or a beverage made from the myriad commodities used to produce alcohol.

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