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Gin: The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva the Eighteenth Century Gin Craze

af Patrick Dillon

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1544177,152 (3.38)2
Between 1720 and 1751, the gin craze nearly overwhelmed London. Based on extensive research, this title follows the history of gin, or geneva - from its introduction from Holland after the Glorius Revolution, to its role as the sustenance of the poor, a quick trip to oblivion in the squalid and diseased poverty of eighteenth-century London.… (mere)
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Viser 4 af 4
I'm not a big history buff so it took me a while to read this book. The short chapters, poignant stories and recurring themes make it an interesting and easy read. If the author showed something it's that history repeats itself! Most interesting to me was the epilogue in which he draw parallels with the American Prohibition and the War on Drugs. Fundamentally, unless social inequity is addressed, problems will always surface. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Mar 19, 2022 |
This fascinating work of social history explores the infamous gin craze of the 18th century, immortalised in such sayings as "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence" and in Hogarth's famous sketch Gin Lane, probably the most famous depiction of alcoholism and social misery in British history. Many of the debates surrounding gin echoed those around prohibition in the USA in the early 20th century and around the war on drugs in many countries now; the undoubted evils that drink and drugs can cause leading to periods of prohibition v. the revenue that governments can derive from proper regulation of these substances and avoiding driving them underground. In the 18th century during the periods of prohibition of gin, gin driven underground was adulterated with turpentine, alum or sulphuric acid, just as a large part of the harm caused by drugs now is caused by adulterated versions of them obtained through illegal or semi-legal means. Then, like now, a large proportion of crime was attributed to the banned substance and it was linked in the minds of many with debates around social responsibility and family and societal breakdown, exemplified at its worst perhaps by the case of Judith Defour, who was hanged in 1734 for murdering her daughter to sell her clothes to buy a few pennies worth of gin. After the failure of outright prohibition in the middle of the century, there followed a period of much more effective regulation, with high rates of duty combined with concentration of the industry in fewer hands; this came alongside a bit of a paradigm shift in social thinking, when Parliament first started to take issues like crime and abandonment of children rather more seriously as social issues, rather than just as, respectively, threats to the natural order or as just desserts for the sins of a parent. Fascinating stuff. ( )
  john257hopper | Aug 2, 2014 |
While I expected a general overview of gin, how it was invented, how it was/is made, its various styles, and its history, that is not what this book provides. It actually provides a social history of gin, and efforts to ban it, in England a couple hundred years ago. Still an interesting topic, with many interesting stories and people, but not as vibrant or interesting as I had hoped. If you want to learn about British efforts at prohibition long before American prohibition, and why such efforts will always fail, this is your book. If you want to learn about gin per se, it is not. My rating of this book mainly reflects my disappointment at the general information about gin that the author leaves out, which I feel would have greatly added to the book, not the thorough research and excellent writing that the author has engaged in on the topic of prohibition. ( )
  tnilsson | Dec 5, 2013 |
Viser 4 af 4
To establish a personal connection with the 18th-century gin trade, you have only to look at the label of your own supply: Beefeater, Booth, Gordon, Tanqueray. All descend from the first companies of distillers who, having grown very rich on gin, understandably and on the whole successfully resisted attempts to limit its consumption.

Distilling had its origin in alchemy. Eventually it was discovered that you could add flavours to the raw spirit and make it drinkable. Its early use was primarily medicinal, but from about the time of the Restoration one drank it for fun, if that is the word. The English had acquired a Dutch king who encouraged the recreational use of gin as distilled, from 1572 on, by his compatriot Bols. Compounding the spirit with, say, juniper berries (or aniseed, though that later became very un-English) provided a beverage desirable in itself and also an economic benefit, since it was distilled from the produce of native agriculture rather than from the grape. Later the government enthusiastically supported English farmers by banning the import of brandy, but smuggling made it available to those who could afford it - which was one reason gin was the drink of the poor and brandy that of the rich...
tilføjet af MsMixte | RedigerThe Guardian, Frank Kermode (May 31, 2002)
 
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Between 1720 and 1751, the gin craze nearly overwhelmed London. Based on extensive research, this title follows the history of gin, or geneva - from its introduction from Holland after the Glorius Revolution, to its role as the sustenance of the poor, a quick trip to oblivion in the squalid and diseased poverty of eighteenth-century London.

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