A Short History of Drunkenness

Author(s): Mark Forsyth

Social Thought

Almost 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 and modern Japanese Nomikai. On the way, we learn about the Neolithic Shamans, who drank to communicate with the spirit world (no pun intended), marvel at the beer King Midas was buried with, and attempt to resist the urge to try the Aztecs' alcoholic hot chocolate.

From Australia's only military coup - the Rum Rebellion - to the gin epidemic of eighteenth-century London, Forsyth elegantly presents a history of the world at its inebriated best.


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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 * 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' * As good as promised - could have been thrice as long -- Ben Schott, on 'The Elements of Eloquence' Witty and revelatory. Blooming brilliant -- Raymond Briggs on 'A Christmas Cornucopia'

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.

General Fields

  • : 9780241297681
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Viking
  • : September 2017
  • : 19.80 cmmm X 12.90 cmmm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : November 2017
  • : September 2020
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Mark Forsyth
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : en
  • : 394.12
  • : 208