First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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(246mm x 174mm x 32mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This is an enjoyable addition to the growing literature of commodities, the histories of substances which we take for granted in everyday life. Caffeine encompasses tea and chocolate as well as coffee, so this book, subtitled The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, is likely to appeal to a massive readership of those dependent on one or more of these substances to enhance their mood. The author starts by recounting the history of caffeine and its arrival in Europe in its various forms from Africa, Asia and South America, showing how each of the substances underwent changes in processing to conform to European tastes - Charles V of Spain, for example, is credited with first mixing cacao with sugar in the 16th century. But it also takes in sociology, anthropology, chemistry and medicine. The arrival of coffee and coffee houses introduced Eastern customs to the West, which had previously tended to regard Turks as stereotype villains; the coffee houses also became venues for intellectuals to meet and talk about philosophy and politics. Though the Romantics such as Wordsworth lauded the joys of the natural world they still loved their tea and coffee, and the book includes a very complicated recipe for coffee found in Coleridge's diary. And of course, tea, and the meal it led to, became a mainstay of English life. This is a well-researched and scholarly book with a number of black-and-white illustrations within the text. It explains in detail the chemistry of caffeine, showing how it is processed and how it achieves its mood-lifting effects, and examines the place of caffeine in the modern world, even comparing the relative caffeine content of the decaffeinated coffees offered by various manufacturers. A fascinating and comprehensive survey. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Bennett Alan Weinberg
Bennett Alan Weinberg is a medical and science writer. He is also chairman of his own advertising and public relations firm whose clients include several of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. Bonnie K. Bealer is a researcher and writer trained in psychology and anthropology. The authors live in Philadelphia.