Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit

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9780062241399: Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit

Popular history with a whiskey-soaked edge: Bourbon is Dane Huckelbridge's artful and imaginative biography of our most well-liked, and at times controversial, spirit, that is also a witty and entertaining chronicle of the United States itself.

Few commodities figure as prominently or as intimately in the story of the nation as bourbon whiskey. Its primary ingredient was discovered by Christopher Columbus. Its recipe was perfected on the Western frontier. In 1964, Congress passed a resolution declaring it to be a "distinctive product of the United States." First brewed by pioneers in in the backwoods of Appalachia, bourbon whiskey has become a modern multi-billion dollar international industry today. As Dane Huckelbridge reveals, the Kentucky spirit—the only liquor produced from corn is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle.

In telling the story of bourbon, Huckelbridge takes us on a lively tour across three hundred years. Introducing the fascinating people central to its creation and evolution, he illuminates the elusive character of the nation itself. Interweaving the development of bourbon to America's own rise, his engaging and unique study is popular history at its best, offering a lively and informative look at our past through a hilariously thick pair of whiskey-bottle glasses.

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From the Back Cover:

A rollicking biography of bourbon whiskey that doubles as a rich and surprising history of America itself

Few products are so completely or intimately steeped in the American story as bourbon whiskey. As Dane Huckelbridge's masterfully crafted history reveals, the iconic amber spirit is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle.

Bourbon's essential ingredient, corn, is indigenous to the Americas and had been fermented by its native peoples for centuries. At Jamestown, the earliest colonists applied their old-world distilling know-how to produce the first corn-based whiskey. After winning the American Revolution, George Washington turned his attention to establishing one of the new nation's largest distilling operations at his estate, Mount Vernon, making him a Founding Father of both the United States and American whiskey. Whiskey-swilling Scots-Irish immigrants had perfected bourbon's recipe in the rugged oak forests of the Appalachian frontier by the early nineteenth century. Kentucky-born Abe Lincoln received a liquor license in 1833 before turning his attention to politics; during the Civil War, soldiers on both sides liberally imbibed before, during, and after battle. Then, in cowboy saloons and gambling halls of the late-nineteenth century, bourbon put the wild in Wild West.

During the early twentieth century, Prohibition fa-mously sought to curtail America's drinking but instead expanded alcohol's reach as speakeasies run by gangsters and bootleggers welcomed women and made drinking more fashionable than ever. Bourbon-consumption reached record heights—both at home and abroad—as America came of age as a superpower after World War II and labels like Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam emerged as global brands on par with Coca-Cola. Just as bourbon fueled the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway during the first half of the twentieth century, the 1960s and beyond saw rock-and-roll bands and country stars knocking back bottles of Old Grand-Dad and reclaiming bourbon's unruly reputation. Today the story has come full circle with a renewed appreciation of craft-distilled whiskey produced in small batches, much as it was 150 years ago.

Bourbon has been at turns rebellious and traditional, liberating and destructive, regional and global; to know it is to understand the American story. Crack open Bourbon, and come along for the ride.

About the Author:

Dane Huckelbridge hails from the American Middle West. He holds a degree in history as well as a certificate in Latin American studies from Princeton University. Bourbon is his first book, although his fiction and essays have appeared in various magazines and journals. He resides in New York City.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF BOURBON. -Sacramento Bee A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Bestseller A ROLLICKING BIOGRAPHY OF BOURBON WHISKEY THAT DOUBLES AS A COMPLEX AND ENTERTAINING (WALL STREET JOURNAL) HISTORY OF AMERICA ITSELF Few products are so completely or intimately steeped in the American story as bourbon whiskey. As Dane Huckelbridge s masterfully crafted history reveals, the iconic amber spirit is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062241399

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 140 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF BOURBON. -Sacramento Bee A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Bestseller A ROLLICKING BIOGRAPHY OF BOURBON WHISKEY THAT DOUBLES AS A COMPLEX AND ENTERTAINING (WALL STREET JOURNAL) HISTORY OF AMERICA ITSELF Few products are so completely or intimately steeped in the American story as bourbon whiskey. As Dane Huckelbridge s masterfully crafted history reveals, the iconic amber spirit is the American experience, distilled, aged, and sealed in a bottle. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062241399

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