Standage, History

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: / Teaching / Scholarship / Reading Notes /

Tom Standage, two books, both history:

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
An Edible History of Humanity

First, A History of the World in 6 Glasses

17th C.
By appealing to Puritans, plotters, and capitalists alike, London’s coffeehouses matched the city’s mood perfectly.
prompted the construction of competing theories to try to explain natural phenomena; in the field of law, the result was the adversarial legal system. (Another form of institutionalized competition that the Greeks particularly loved was athletics.) This approach underpins the modern Western way of life, in which politics, commerce, science, and law are all rooted in orderly competition.

Very good. I’m impressed how many great oddball histories I’ve read in the last decade: Salt, for example; The Botany of Desire, for example.
I thank bk for the leads, for the books, for the e-versions.

This led to the emergence of handwritten newsletters of Paris gossip, transcribed by dozens of copyists and sent by post to subscribers in Paris and beyond. (Since they were not printed, they did not need government approval.)
In coffeehouses the contrast between radical new ideas about how the world might be and how it actually was became most apparent.
Coke, patent medicines:
The newspapers that printed such advertisements did not ask any questions. They welcomed the advertising revenues, which enabled the newspaper industry to expand enormously; by the end of the nineteenth century patent medicines accounted for more newspaper advertising than any other product.

the bottled drink … CocaCola had successfully extended the use of caffeine, the world’s most popular drug, into realms where coffee and tea had been unable to reach.

pioneered the new technology of radio to sell Coca-Cola, and the prominent placement of the drink in numerous movies—another way of associating it with glamour and escapism.

I had no idea:

Coca-Cola production could continue, even as rationing forced makers of rival soft drinks to reduce production by as much as half.
Shipping bottles of Coca-Cola halfway around the world to wherever troops were stationed was very inefficient, however, not least because it tied up valuable shipping capacity. So special bottling plants and soda fountains were established where possible inside military bases, which meant that only the Coca-Cola syrup had to be shipped. To many military personnel, the Coca-Cola employees who installed and ran this machinery were no less important than the mechanics who kept planes and tanks running. They were granted favored status as “technical observers” and given military ranks, so that they became known as “CocaCola colonels.” During the war they established no fewer than sixty-four military bottling plants around the world and served around ten billion drinks. The technical observers devised a portable Coca-Cola dispenser for use in the jungle, and a slim­line dispenser that could fit through the hatch of a submarine. Coca-Cola was also made available to civilians near American bases overseas, many of whom developed a taste for the drink too. People around the world, from Polynesians to Zulus, tasted Coca-Cola for the first time.
Hundreds of letters, now preserved in the Coca-Cola archives, show how closely American servicemen identified the drink with their country and what it stood for. “To my mind, I am in this damn mess as much to help keep the custom of drinking Cokes as I am to help preserve the million other benefits our country blesses its citizens with. . . . May we all toast victory soon with a Coke,” wrote one soldier. “If anyone were to ask us what we were fighting for,” another soldier wrote in a letter home, “we think half of us would answer, the right to buy Coca-Cola again.”
Stop at a filling station in the United States, and you will find that bottled water, ounce for ounce, costs more than gasoline.

[a] study also noted that in both Europe and the United States, the quality of tap water is far more stringently controlled than the quality of bottled water. !

What a great book, I’m in the Epilogue now, will tackle Standage’s other food / history book soon.

Reading Notes A — L By Author M — Z

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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