The Social History of Bourbon

The Social History of Bourbon

The Social History of Bourbon

The Social History of Bourbon

Synopsis

The Distinctive Beverage of the Western World, bourbon is Kentucky's illustrious gift to those who appreciate fine spirits. Although the story of American whiskey is recorded in countless pages of our nation's history, the place of bourbon in the country's cultural record has long awaited a detailed and objective examination. A fascinating, informative chronicle of America's native spirit, The Social History of Bourbon reflects an aspect of our national cultural identity that has long been suppressed and overlooked. Gerald Carson explores the impact of the liquor's presence during America's early development, as well as bourbon's role in some of the most dramatic events in American history, including the Whiskey Rebellion, the scandals of the Whiskey Ring, and the "whiskey forts" of the fur trade. The Social History of Bourbon is a revealing look at the role of this classic beverage in the development of American manners and culture.

Excerpt

The Social History of Bourbon is the first scholarly examination of the distilling industry in the United States. When Carson wrote it in the early 1960s, Prohibition was still part of the living memory of many Americans, and the bourbon industry was enjoying a strong market. In his own way, Carson was exploring a new frontier.

More than just a history of distillers, The Social History of Bourbon is the story of the saloon and the impetus to close down this uniquely American institution. Carson recognizes that Prohibition, on the surface a movement to stop the drinking of alcohol, was at the same time a reaction to social issues such as the flood of new immigrants to the United States and a commensurate growing political clout of urban areas. The saloon was a not insignificant feature of these social phenomena, as a place where new arrivals in American cities could gather, where politicians could build voting blocks, and where good, decent family men might be led astray by vices associated with drinking such as gambling and prostitution. By connecting saloons with various burgeoning social malaises, or with cultural trends that made Americans uneasy about holding on to their traditional ways of life, Prohibitionists gathered more supporters than by simply presenting the deleterious effects of . . .

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