Philosophical Book Club: History of the World in 6 Glasses


How often a new lens opens a whole new world! And what a new vista Tom Standage, deputy editor for The Economist, opens up for readers. The whole of human history divided into six eras, each defined by a different beverage. Six glasses: from beer, wine and spirits through coffee, tea and Coca-Cola. Set your course and before you know it you’ve traveled from ancient Sumer to Greece and Rome, covered the Age of Exploration, Reason and Empire, grasped the impacts of the Industrial Revolution, and ended up in the globalized world of the 21st century. Even a wink at what comes next…

The New York Times Bestseller

“There aren’t many books this entertaining that also provide a cogent crash course in ancient, classical and modern history.” —Los Angeles Times

Beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola: In Tom Standage’s deft, innovative account of world history, these six beverages turn out to be much more than just ways to quench thirst. They also represent six eras that span the course of civilization—from the adoption of agriculture, to the birth of cities, to the advent of globalization. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century through each epoch’s signature refreshment. As Standage persuasively argues, each drink is in fact a kind of technology, advancing culture and catalyzing the intricate interplay of different societies. After reading this enlightening book, you may never look at your favorite drink in quite the same way again.