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history of drinking

Review: Susan Cheever Reveals the Secret History of Drinking in America

in Nonfiction by

“Here’s to alcohol,” Homer Simpson once famously said, “the cause of—and solution to—all of life’s problems.” This simple quote from one of America’s great animated philosophers might sum up our country’s relationship with booze, from the days of the pilgrims all the way to today’s latest age of (relative) temperance. Or so might say Susan Cheever, author of Drinking in America: Our Secret History (Twelve; October 12, 2015). The book is a unique cultural tour seen through the perspective of one of our favorite pastimes—and one of our darkest problems. “Since the beginning, drinking and taverns have been as much a part of American life as churches and preachers, or elections and politics,” Cheever writes. “The interesting truth, untaught in…

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