Newly revised and updated, this engaging narrative chronicles for the first time America's delight in drink and her simultaneous fight against it for the past 350 years. From Plymouth Rock, 1621, to New York City, 1987, Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin guide us on a lively tour of drinks and drinkers, and reveal how popular reactions to this ubiquitous habit have mirrored and helped shape national responses to a number of moral and social issues.
As Lender and Martin demonstrate, we were born wet. Be it Boston rum, Vermont hard cider, or Georgia peach brandy, Colonial America consumed alcohol at a rate that, by today's standards, would be considered "moderate to heavy." By 1800, the temperance movement was born and would play a central role in American politics for the next 100 years, equating abstinence with 100-proof Americanism. And today, the authors attest, a "neotemperance" movement seems to be emerging-in response to heightened public awareness of the consequences of alcohol abuse.