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A Short History of Drunkenness


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A comic history of humankind's love affair with booze, from the Sunday TimesNo. 1 bestselling author of The Etymologicon.

About the Author

Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon was a Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and his TED Talk 'What's a snollygoster?' has had more than half a million views. He has also written a specially commissioned essay 'The Unknown Unknown' for Independent Booksellers Week and the introduction for the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary. He lives in London with his dictionaries, and blogs at blog.inkyfool.com.


My favourite book of this and possibly any other Christmas is Mark Forsyth's A Short History of Drunkenness
*The Spectator*

Forsyth's jokes are snappy and well delivered. Unlike most comical writers he never falls into the trap of confusing long-windedness with irony
*Mail on Sunday*

Haha! . . . Highly suitable for Xmas!
*Margaret Atwood*

This entertaining study of drunkenness makes for a racy sprint through human history
*Sunday Times*

A brisk and brilliant romp through our hiccoughing history, drenched with wit. Bloody marvellous from first sip to last burp
*Jason Hazeley, co-author of the Ladybird series (including 'The Ladybird Book of the Quiet Night In' and 'The Ladybird Book of the Hangover'*

Reading like a TED talk delivered by a stand-up comedian, this made me laugh out loud more than my first ever night out on absinthe. As essential as a hip flask or a pack of pork scratchings for any true connoisseur of booze. A Short History of Drunkenness is this year's Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape of Christmas books, no less. Bloody entertaining.
*Emlyn Rees, author of 'The Very Hungover Caterpillar' and 'We're Going on a Bar Hunt'*

Sometimes you see a book title that simply gladdens the heart. Everyone I showed this book to either smiled broadly or laughed out loud . . . This is a book of some brilliance - probably best consumed with a restorative glass of something by your side.
*Daily Mail*

As Mark Forsyth brilliantly shows, civilisation is built on booze. Egypt (beer), Greece and Rome (wine) depended on alcohol to create their mighty works. Where man drinks, he prospers, and vice versa. A toast to this spirits-fuelled spirits-lifter. Staggering!
*Harry Mount, editor of The Oldie*

I thought I knew quite a bit about drinking but A Short History of Drunkenness made me look at inebriation anew. Each chapter amazed, challenged and stimulated me so much that I needed a stiff drink at the end of it.
*Henry Jeffreys, author of Empire of Booze*

With a great eye for a story and a counterintuitive argument, Mark Forsyth has enormous fun breezing through 10,000 years of alcoholic history in a little more than 250 pages.
*The Guardian*

Well researched and recounted with excellent humour, Forsyth's alcohol-ridden tale is sure to reduce anyone to a stupor of amazement.
*Daily Express*

This charming book proved so engrossing that while reading it I accidentally drank two bottles of wine without realising.
*Rob Temple, author of Very British Problems*

Everything we ever thought about Christmas is wrong! Great stuff
*Matthew Parris on 'A Christmas Cornucopia'*

Mark Forsyth wears his considerable knowledge lightly. He also writes beautifully

This year's must-have stocking filler ... the essential addition to the library in the smallest room is Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon

Mark imparts knowledge about Christmas traditions from the essential to the (very) abstruse in wry and sardonic style. An effortless and enjoyable way to learn more about this fulcrum of our calendar
*Paul Smiddy, Former Head of pan-European retail research, HSBC, on 'A Christmas Cornucopia'*

With his casual elegance and melodious voice, Mark Forsyth has an anachronistic charm totally at odds with the 21st century
*Sunday Times South Africa on'The Horologicon'*

[The Etymologicon is] a perfect bit of stocking filler for the bookish member of the family, or just a cracking all-year-round-read. Highly recommended
*The Spectator*

A treat for the connoisseur who enjoys a robust anecdote from the past with his drink
*The Telegraph, India*

As good as promised - could have been thrice as long
*Ben Schott, on 'The Elements of Eloquence'*

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