The drink has claimed many a poor author - Dylan Thomas, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kingsley Amis, Truman Capote, and Charles Bukowski to name just a few. Many writers embraced the bottle and wove drinking themes in their writing - Amis alone published On Drink and Everyday Drinking. Evelyn Waugh, a contemporary of Amis, once wrote: “Wine is a bride who brings a great dowry to the man who woos her persistently and gracefully.”
Things have changed. Today, there seems to be an unlimited supply of memoirs about how people beat the booze and conquer their addiction. A number of non-fiction writers are keen to understand how alcohol has shaped society with books about how booze “changed the world.” That's fair enough but books celebrating bars, beer, wine, and the hard stuff used to be commonplace but they now appear to belong to another generation.
Perhaps the greatest bookish irony of alcohol is that the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most collectible literary items of the 20th century - it's the tome that single-handedly created a genre and launched a hundred thousand self-help books.
We have selected 20 books, mostly from the dim and distant past, on drinking. Ale, wine, gin, inns, bars, cocktails, drinking songs, beer cans, bartending and staying off the stuff - it's all there.
A highly collectible example of 1930 Art Deco but affordable reprints are available.Find all copies
Published in 1920, this book contains a series of Andre’s lectures to the Wine Trade Club.Find all copies