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By Rod Phillips

No matter if as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a continuing and sometimes debatable function in social lifestyles. In his leading edge booklet at the attitudes towards and intake of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and financial heritage, uncovering the tensions among alcoholic beverages as fit staples of day-by-day diets and as items of social, political, and spiritual nervousness. within the city facilities of Europe and the USA, the place it was once obvious as more healthy than untreated water, alcohol won a foothold because the drink of selection, however it has been extra regulated by way of governmental and spiritual professionals greater than the other commodity. As a possible resource of social disruption, alcohol created risky barriers of applicable and unacceptable intake and broke via boundaries of sophistication, race, and gender.

Phillips follows the ever-changing cultural meanings of those effective potables and makes the impressive argument that a few societies have entered "post-alcohol" levels. His is the 1st e-book to envision and clarify the meanings and results of alcohol in such intensity, from international and long term perspectives.

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28 All the alcoholic beverages in the ancient world had some religious connotations that might well have reflected the perceived wonder of fermentation and the feelings of other-worldliness that even mild alcoholic intoxication produces. If wine had stronger religious associations, which it did in many ancient cultures, it might well have been more because of its scarcity than of any intrinsic quality. It is not surprising that the social elites in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere stressed the godly associations of the beverage to which they had virtually sole access; it gave them a proximity to and an intimacy with the divine that was greater than any the masses had access to.

Many of these findings have shifted some attention from the Middle East, which was long assumed to be the birthplace of beer, wine, and distillation—and which gave us the Arabic origin of our word “alcohol”—even though there is an important concentration of evidence of ancient alcohol in that region. Yet although we should expect to see the history of ancient alcohol continually revised, as researchers develop new analytical techniques and investigate new sites, there is probably a practical limit to the historical depth of our knowledge.

A local birdwatcher noted that the blackbirds that followed could hold their alcohol better than the robins: “The blackbirds fall off into the grass and then wallow around to sober up. But the robins! ”3 Videos of supposedly intoxicated animals have become popular viewing on the internet, and although many seem to be authentic examples, scientists are skeptical about widespread and long-standing reports of African elephants getting tipsy on the rotting fruit of the marula tree. The scenario is somewhat improbable because elephants prefer their marula fruit ripe, rather than overripe or rotting.

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