Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever

By Susan Cheever

In consuming IN the US, bestselling writer Susan Cheever chronicles our nationwide love affair with liquor, taking an extended, considerate examine the way in which alcohol has replaced our nation's background. this is often the customarily missed tale of the way alcohol has formed American occasions and the yankee personality from the 17th to the 20th century.
Seen during the lens of alcoholism, American historical past takes on a vibrancy and a tragedy lacking from many previous debts. From the drunkenness of the Pilgrims to Prohibition hijinks, ingesting has continually been a loved American customized: how to rejoice and the way to grieve and how to take the sting off. At many pivotal issues in our history-the unlawful Mayflower touchdown at Cape Cod, the enslavement of African american citizens, the McCarthy witch hunts, and the Kennedy assassination, to call just a few-alcohol has acted as a catalyst.
Some international locations drink greater than we do, a few drink much less, yet no different kingdom has been the drunkest within the world-as the USA was once within the 1830's-and then outlawed consuming totally just a hundred years later. either a full of life background and an unflinching cultural research, ingesting IN the United States unveils the unstable ambivalence inside one nation's tumultuous affair with alcohol.

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Of all these sources, American soldiers identified novels and movies as by far the most important. They had shaped the Pacific Basin, particularly Hawaii and the South Pacific – or ‘South Seas’ – into the ultimate terrestrial paradise. So much so, that GIs were using ‘South Seas’ as a generic name for all of the Pacific, as if this paradise stretched endlessly from pole to pole. Military pocket guides tried to warn the soldiers. ” The warnings fell on deaf ears. After all, how could a terse service manual in a few minutes undo the paradise conjured up by a weighty literary tradition of centuries?

62 Whereas GIs habitually paid natives trifles for their services, they were fully aware that the lands these people lived on might one day offer Americans tremendous natural riches. Like their forefathers on the North American continent, GIs in Asia and the Pacific were continually tantalized by the valuable resources that seemed to be there for the taking. As Richard Slotkin has shown, the mystique of the American frontier sprang not only from its boundless “virgin land,” but from lodes of seemingly inexhaustible raw materials.

The military also increasingly relied on aerial photography. Yet, despite rapid progress, many technical limitations remained. 37 At wit’s end, the military more than once turned to anyone who might possess even minimal knowledge of the terrain in which they were about 14 The GI War against Japan to risk troops: colonial officials, naval officers, missionaries, travelers, traders – even schooner skippers. In 1942, for instance, scores of former Solomon residents were interviewed in New Zealand and Australia in preparation for the invasion of Guadalcanal.

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