McCarley Bejarano August 12, 2010 Honors English Summer Reading A History of the World in 6 Glasses: Standage’s Claim Standage’s overall claim is that drinks have had a large aﬀect on human history, and they conHnue to shape the future. Throughout the book Standage seems to just be giving facts about each drink, but he is also relaHng them to one another and to human history. Beer and coﬀee are two completely diﬀerent drinks, though they have brought people together in similar ways. With the discovery of coﬀee came coﬀeehouses. With coﬀeehouses came gossip, business meeHngs, and even the start of a revoluHon. Overall, they have been a place for people to gather and mingle with one another. Beer, though being discovered thousands of years before coﬀee, has also brought people together. Before the use of individual cups, groups of people would drink beer through straws and from the same jar. Sharing a drink form the same jar made everyone feel as though they were all equal and united. According to Standage, certain beverages also have a way of bringing together diﬀerent countries through trade. Wine and tea are the two drinks he writes about that really sHmulated trade around the world. Certain wines were preferred more than others depending on where they came from. People in Greece or Italy may have drunk wine imported from France or Spain. Today, France, Italy, and Spain dominate the wine
trade. Tea originated in China but became the naHonal drink nearly halfway around the world in England. In order obtain their tea, diﬀerent countries had to trade goods with China. The Chinese didn’t have much interest in western goods but were happy to trade for gold and silver. Eventually the English tried to grow tea plants in England to reduce its price. Even being unsuccessful, they tried again, this Hme in India. Skilled workers adopted the correct way to tend to and harvest tea leaves. Indian grown tea was a huge success; India conHnues today to be the largest producer and distributer of tea around the world. In his book, Standage proves that drinks such as brandy, rum, whiskey, and Coca‐Cola played a large part in the development of America. During the colonizaHon of the New World spirits were traded for slaves to work in the ﬁelds. These slaves produced coYon, wheat, sugar, and many more products that were sent to England in order to conHnue the expansion of the New World. Some slave owners even paid their workers with a liter or two of rum and whiskey. Hundreds of years later Coca‐Cola is the drink that conHnues to shape the United States. During the Depression, Coke adverHsements were cheerful and helped keep spirits up. Troops ﬁghHng in WWI and WWII requested that Coca‐Cola be sent to them because it reminded them of home. Coca‐Cola has become a world wide symbol of the United States and our freedom. Many factors contribute to the way history is changed. Standage has shown us that something as liYle as a cup of tea can have a large impact on the world. Drinks have altered the course of history and will conHnue to mold our future.