A History of the World in 6 Glasses Important Quotes

Tom Standage

A History Of The World In 6 Glasses

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  • Features 12 chapter summaries and five sections of expert analysis
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A History of the World in 6 Glasses Important Quotes

  1. Fermentation and civilization are inseparable. (Chapter 1, p.9)

This quotation forms the epigraph to the opening chapter and encapsulates Standage’s argument that the discovery of beer—made by fermenting grains—enabled the emergence of civilizations such as those found in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, which gave the world the first systems of writing and accountancy, as well as the first cities.

  1. “haring a drink with someone is a universal symbol of hospitality and friendship. It signals that the person offering the drink can be trusted, by demonstrating that it is not poisoned or otherwise unsuitable for consumption.” (Chapter 1, p.18)

Throughout the book, Standage emphasizes the social role that beverages play. Humans drink not only to maintain life and health, but also to form and maintain social bonds. While competition—for land, resources and wealth—are an integral part of human history, sharing is too, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the sharing of food and drink.

  1. “The Mesopotamians regarded the consumption of bread and beer as one of the things that distinguished them from savages and made them fully human.” (Chapter 2, p.27)

What it means to be human is one of the great existential questions and it continues to be posed to this day. For many ancient civilizations, agriculture, and the food and drink that resulted from it, distinguished them from their hunter-gatherer ancestors and thus became a mark of humanity.

  1. “Toasting someone’s health before drinking beer is a remnant of the ancient belief in beer’s magical properties. And beer’s association with friendly, unpretentious social interaction remains unchanged; it is a beverage meat to be shared. Whether in stone-age villages, Mesopotamian banqueting halls, or modern pubs and bars, beer has brought people together since the dawn of civilization.” (Chapter 2, p.39)

While this book is concerned with how different drinks shaped distinct historical periods, Standage also notes that these beverages, especially beer, offer a sense of continuity across history. The idea that social habits concerning beer remain largely unchanged from the Stone Age to the present suggests the fundamental role that drinks play in our lives and…

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