Book Review: The Social History of Bourbon: An Unhurried ...

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Book Review: The Social History of Bourbon: An Unhurried ...

Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Oct 23, 2004 10:06 am

The Social History of Bourbon: An Unhurried Account of Our Star-Spangled American Drink, by Gerald Carson. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 1963. Contents, Foreward, Chronology, Glossary, Chapter Notes, Index, Illustrated. Pp. 280

When a historian thinks of "social history" he tends to think about the history of the common people so in that line of thought the title of this book is a bit misleading. This book tells the history of bourbon through a series of chapter that could stand alone as magazine articles. They are interesting to read but not completely accurate. Carson does use footnotes, but tracking down that information is not always possible. For one example he traces the term red liquor to a letter at the Filson Historical Society, but the letter is not there and there is no record that the letter ever was. Did he find this at another institution and mis-credited the letter? Good question and let us hope that is the case.

The information for these chapters appear to be well researched, but he did rely heavily upon the distilleries (and thus their marketing departments) for information in some chapters. These chapter discuss a variety of subjects from the role of whiskey in the civil war to how then term "whiskey" came to be defined by the Taft Decision. They are easy to read and entertaining. The chronology at the end of the book also helps the reader to get a perspective on this history since the chapter do tend to jump around a bit and the gloosary provides some definitions for terms found in the industry. There are some very nice photographs in this book as well.

This book is another standard for any bourbon library. It is quoted by many other writers and was one of the first books to actually use footnotes to state sources. Its information is 40 years old, but since most of the history subjects are more general industry history, and not specific company history, it is still relevant.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Oct 23, 2004 1:00 pm

Mike this is one book that I'd really like to have. Should you find a spare - well you know the address.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:
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Unread postby westsideelectric » Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:31 pm

bunghole wrote:Mike this is one book that I'd really like to have. Should you find a spare - well you know the address.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:


Keep you eyes on your mailbox, Linn... :twisted: :wink:
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:08 pm

westsideelectric wrote:
bunghole wrote:Mike this is one book that I'd really like to have. Should you find a spare - well you know the address.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:


Keep you eyes on your mailbox, Linn... :twisted: :wink:


ACK! A Burbo-Bomb From Glen!

Well padded with Habanos I trust! DAMN! I'm such a MOOCH!

But ima really CUTE mooch!

Pants Away, Baby!

:arrow: ima cute mooch! :smilebox:
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Unread postby bunghole » Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:14 am

westsideelectric wrote:Keep you eyes on your mailbox, Linn... :twisted: :wink:


WOW! Thank You Glen!

:bounce: :salute: :notworthy: :sunny:

I went to what was left of my mailbox this morning, and discovered a priority mail package from a rare book dealer. Inside was a pristine copy of Gerald Carson's 'The Social History of BOURBON' :!:

I tip my hat and raise my glass to this fine Brother of the Leaf and also of the Corn!

Many Thanks for this prized addition to my bourbon library.

:arrow: ima very happy bunghole! :smilebox:
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:48 am

Congrats, Linn! I am sure you will enjoy the book. Now does anybody know where I can get a copy Bluegrass, Belles and Bourbon so I can do a review? Interesting book that the UD archive had, but I need a copy for my library.
Mike Veach
(I can be a mooch Too.)
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Unread postby doubleblank » Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:19 am

Mike....There's one listed on ebay right now.....no bids yet. Bidding closes Nov 1. Get it!

Randy
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:45 pm

Thanks. I will make a bid tonight.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Oregone » Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:04 pm

One of the best sites on the web: http://www.abebooks.com/

I've found a lot of books I was looking for, at great prices, and have never had a problem with one of the booksellers.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:02 pm

This is even better! I can buy and not have to bid. They have several copies at reasonable prices.
My Thanks and I owe you a drink.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Oregone » Fri Oct 29, 2004 3:47 pm

bourbonv wrote:This is even better! I can buy and not have to bid. They have several copies at reasonable prices.
My Thanks and I owe you a drink.
Mike Veach


Wish I could come to KY to collect! With my usual luck, I didn't discover bourbon until the year after an employer sent me to Louisville for a week. :roll: Typical.
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Unread postby westsideelectric » Fri Oct 29, 2004 7:48 pm

bunghole wrote:
westsideelectric wrote:Keep you eyes on your mailbox, Linn... :twisted: :wink:


WOW! Thank You Glen!

:bounce: :salute: :notworthy: :sunny:

I went to what was left of my mailbox this morning, and discovered a priority mail package from a rare book dealer. Inside was a pristine copy of Gerald Carson's 'The Social History of BOURBON' :!:

I tip my hat and raise my glass to this fine Brother of the Leaf and also of the Corn!

Many Thanks for this prized addition to my bourbon library.

:arrow: ima very happy bunghole! :smilebox:


My pleasure, Linn. It's just my little way of showing my appreciation for all of the fine information you've shared regarding whiskey. Sorry there were no Habanos in the package, but the book dealer was fresh out... :wink:
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:51 am

ima enjoying reading this unhurried account in a very leisurely way. This volume contains the best account of the Whiskey Rebellion that I have ever read. Lots of little tid-bits of intel.

Carson also makes several references to Mark Twain here and there. The only real reason that I can see is that Sam Clemens liked his bourbon and that the author likes his Mark Twain, and that's good enough for me!

:arrow: ima :thumbright:
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Unread postby bunghole » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Hey! I want my fort back!

On top of page 34 ... "Other voices have been raised to name John Ritchie as the patriarch of bourbon distillers. He is said to have set up a still at Linn's Fort, east of Bardstown in 1777."

Professor Veach, please locate my long lost fort.

Counsler Cowdery, please draw up the neccessary legal paperwork to reclaim my fort.

:arrow: ima want my fort back, dammit :!:
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Unread postby cowdery » Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:31 pm

Ok, but I can't guarantee that the still is still there.
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
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