Thursday 31 May 2018

Booze, Glorious American Booze

Image result for american flagMuch has happened since A Short History of Drunkenness came out in America a couple of weeks ago. First, there's a lovely review in the New York Times. I believe it will be in the print edition on Sunday, but, like an insomniac spider, it's already on the web and you can read it by following this link. I never thought that I picture I drew would end up in the NYT.

Second, there's a review the Wall Street Journal, which you can read here.

Third, I did an interview for the lovely folks at Big Blend Radio Hour that you can listen to by following this link.

Fourth, I wrote an article for Read It Forward, that, if you are forward, you can read here. It's about great fictional drunkards.

All of which leaves no excuse for any whisk[e]y drinker. A Short History of Drunkenness is officially a "refreshingly guilt-free account of getting sloshed through the ages".

Incidentally, in case you wanted to see the original Pubai seal, here it is. The beer drinkers are at the top centre, using straws to avoid all the horrid sediment that you got in Sumerian beer.



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  2. Hello Mr. Forsyth,

    Totally enjoyed this book. I had a couple questions about what I see as omissions (not in anyway detracting from a very good book).

    One in your treatment of the Viking drinking habits you mention Odin as the god who only drinks alcohol, but there is no mention of his prohibitions against too much drink in in Hávamál 11-14:

    A better burden can no man bear
    on the way than his mother wit:
    and no worse provision can he carry with him
    than too deep a draught of ale.

    Less good than they say for the sons of men
    is the drinking oft of ale:
    for the more they drink, the less can they think
    and keep a watch o'er their wits.

    A bird of Unmindfulness flutters o'er ale feasts,
    wiling away men's wits:
    with the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once
    in the garths of Gunnlos below.

    Drunk was I then, I was over drunk
    in that crafty Jötun's court.
    But best is an ale feast when man is able
    to call back his wits at once.

    Did you not come across this in your research or was there a reason to leave this out. It would create an interesting juxtaposition with the drinking god warning us against drinking (and your book was full of such juxtapositions).

    The other one, I think if you ever edited the book, it would be nice when you define Ale and Beer, if you also mentioned the modern definition that brewers use, if only as note. It took me a bit to come to grips that you were probably dead on historically but definitions change. Also, one area of interesting research around beer before hops is gruit which was what some of those pre-hopped "beers" were called.

    All that said, absolutely loved the book. Thank you for writing it.