Drinking has always meant much more than satisfying the thirst. Drinking can be a necessity, a comfort, an indulgence or a social activity.
Liquid Pleasures is an engrossing study of the social history of drinks in Britain from the late seventeenth century to the present. From the first cup of tea at breakfast to mid-morning coffee, to an eveining beer and a 'night-cap', John Burnett discusses individual drinks and drinking patterns which have varied not least with personal taste but also with age, gender, region and class. He shows how different ages have viewed the same drink as either demon poison or medicine.
John Burnett traces the history of what has been drunk in Britain from the 'hot beverage revolution' of the late seventeenth century - connecting drinks and related substances such as sugar to empire - right up to the 'cold drinks revolution' of the late twentieth century, examining the factors which have determined these major changes in our dietary habits.
John Burnett is Emeritus Professor of History at Brunel University. His many books include Idle Hands (1994), Useful Toil (1994) and A Social History of Housing (1986).
'The judges greatly admired the depth of research in this book of social history; it will be a mine of useful source material for anyone working in this field. It also contains a useful bibliography, with further copious source material cited in the notes. Despite its factual density, it's also a very good read, as full of colourful anecdote as it is of historical scholarship. The judges felt it would be a great shame if this book was confined to the shelves of academic bookshops and university libraries; the subject matter, the depth of research and the lively treatment of that research deserves a wider audience.' - Andrew Jefford Andre Simon Award judging panel
'This is a thorough, thoughtful, judiciously argued and infectiously readable study which fully maintains the high standards which Burnett set in his pervious works on food and housing' the History Association review
'This concise, well-organised and well-documented book makes a most useful contribution to the history of consumption Like most good social history it contains an important element of economic and business history Indeed the key to the success of the book is that it places consumption in the broadest possible context.' - Contemporary British History
'What Burnett has done very effectively is compress a lot of detail about the broad parameters of change into an entertaining and provoking book which raises important questions about the nature of significance of drinks in, and for, modern Britain.' - Business History
'The kind of book which, no pun intended, literally lifts the spirits of an academic book reviewer. It is both readable and entertaining.' - Medical History