A Short History of Wine – Rod Phillips

January 5, 2009 at 16:06 | Posted in books | Leave a comment
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Book cover

Book cover

Rod Phillips undertakes a large task in this 300-odd page book – to chart the history of wine in the western world, from the earliest known evidence of winemaking in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest consumer fashion.

For the most part he succeeds admirably; dividing up history into a number of ‘wine eras’, he brings to life the social, commercial and agricultural aspects of wine in each era, together with fascinating glimpses of just what concoctions were being drunk – and how far away many of them were from what today we call wine. Through periods of success and periods of disaster, the impact of wine on western society has been considerable, and this book is highly illuminating as to how the various interests – from growers to governments, from traders to the temperance movement – have impacted both the quantity and quality of wine consumed over the centuries.

If the book has a flaw, it is in its readability; in places the prose is somewhat turgid, and it sometimes seems to jump around somewhat chronologically. Whilst anyone with an interest in wine and / or history will enjoy this book, it perhaps won’t grab the attention of the more casual reader. But for those who are interested, this is a book to be recommended.

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