Drinking in America : our secret history

by Cheever, Susan,

Format: Print Book 2015
Availability: Available at 6 Libraries 6 of 7 copies
Available (6)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - East Liberty Non-Fiction Collection GT2883.U6 C54 2015
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  GT2883.U6 C54 2015
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction GT2883.U6 C54 2015
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  GT2883.U6 C54 2015
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection GT2883.U6 C54 2015
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  GT2883.U6 C54 2015
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 394.13 CHEEVER
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  394.13 CHEEVER
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 394.120973 C41
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  394.120973 C41
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 394.13 CHE
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  394.13 CHE
Unavailable (1)
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Oakmont Carnegie Library Non-Fiction CLMS RETD
Location  Oakmont Carnegie Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
In Drinking in America , bestselling author Susan Cheever chronicles our national love affair with liquor, taking a long, thoughtful look at the way alcohol has changed our nation's history. This is the often-overlooked story of how alcohol has shaped American events and the American character from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.

Seen through the lens of alcoholism, American history takes on a vibrancy and a tragedy missing from many earlier accounts. From the drunkenness of the Pilgrims to Prohibition hijinks, drinking has always been a cherished American custom: a way to celebrate and a way to grieve and a way to take the edge off. At many pivotal points in our history-the illegal Mayflower landing at Cape Cod, the enslavement of African Americans, the McCarthy witch hunts, and the Kennedy assassination, to name only a few-alcohol has acted as a catalyst.

Some nations drink more than we do, some drink less, but no other nation has been the drunkest in the world as America was in the 1830s only to outlaw drinking entirely a hundred years later. Both a lively history and an unflinching cultural investigation, Drinking in America unveils the volatile ambivalence within one nation's tumultuous affair with alcohol.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "American attitudes toward boozing, Cheever says, have oscillated like a pendulum, beginning in a swing toward toping when the Pilgrims landed because they were out of beer. Swilling burgeoned beyond population growth until, in the 1820s, the U.S. was the drunkest nation on earth. Then came the reverse swing, culminating in Prohibition, the criminal bad consequences of which sent public opinion back to the bottle. Now, thanks to the effectiveness of AA and MADD, the U.S. is again censorious and legally restrictive of drinking. An accomplished novelist and biographer, Cheever tells the back-and-forth history of her subject in a stream of stories about and observations by famous people, including colonial leaders, three generations of John Adams' family, Meriwether Lewis, and Ulysses S. Grant and other Civil War figures. This is all very readable, but there should be more. The chapter covering 1866-1919 the upswing to Prohibition is only three pages long; the WCTU and Carrie Nation are barely mentioned, the influential Prohibition Party isn't mentioned at all. Such short shrifting makes the chapter on sodden mid-twentieth-century authors seem tacked on.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2015 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this whimsical history, author Cheever (My Name Is Bill) examines four centuries of America's dysfunctional relationship with booze. Her story opens with the Pilgrims landing at Cape Cod "because they were running out of beer" and ends with the ascension of Alcoholics Anonymous. Cheever focuses on the role that giggle juice played in central events of U.S. history, including the Revolutionary War, westward expansion, the Civil War, Prohibition, and the Red Scare. She also highlights important figures in the history of drinking, including John Adams (and his family), Ethan Allen, Ulysses Grant, and her own father, John Cheever. Cheever's central observation is fascinating: "few historians even mention drinking and its effect... on events," an oversight she strives to correct. Yet some of her suppositions feel weak: that the Revolutionary War might not have happened if the colonists hadn't been such partyers; that the Civil War might have been lost if Grant's drinking hadn't been tolerated; that Kennedy might not have been assassinated if his Secret Service team hadn't been so hungover. Cheever is at her most fascinating when she sticks to facts: for example, in 1820 the average consumption of alcohol was three times what it is today, and children were sent off to elementary school fortified by "flip," a mixture of fruit juice and grain alcohol. The melting pot, it seems, was also a mixing bowl. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Drinking customs -- United States -- History.
Publisher New York :2015
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description x, 258 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 237-244) and index.
ISBN 9781455513871
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