Meticulously researched and written with clear-minded authority, this book is a remarkable way of telling the human story.

BEER

A GLOBAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAST & PRESENT

A fascinating book that demonstrates the long and complex history behind the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage.

The first evidence of beer dates from about 11,000 B.C.E., with pottery in a cave in Israel containing residue of a drink made from fermented grains. In his latest book, Arthur, a professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, uses the development of beer to recount the story of civilization. Beer appears in nearly all ancient cultures, and the author enthusiastically ranges across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Recent research shows that beer production was as much a part of early settlements as bread making, with wild grains being domesticated for the purpose, and it was an important source of calories. As societies developed, beer types proliferated, and it even became a sort of currency. Workers on many of the world’s ancient monuments were often paid in beer. In Mesoamerica, beer was made from corn and maize and had a key role in religious ceremonies. The Vikings apparently liked their beer sweet, so they added honey and bog myrtle, which they took with them on their conquests. The British, as their empire expanded, spread hops all over the world, and it eventually became the most common ingredient. Arthur includes a selection of beer recipes, some of them thousands of years old, and notes that many of them are tasty, even to the modern palate. However, he believes that due to massive corporations, beer has become a somewhat generic product, solidly profitable but a little bland. On the positive side, he applauds the resurgence of craft beers, which use a multitude of ingredients to create complex, layered flavors. One way or another, he writes, the path ahead for beer looks as interesting as the road behind. So next time you raise a glass, think about the history contained within.

Meticulously researched and written with clear-minded authority, this book is a remarkable way of telling the human story.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-19-757980-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more