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Proof: The Science of Booze [Kindle Edition]

Adam Rogers
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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"Lively...[Rogers'] descriptions of the science behind familiar drinks exert a seductive pull." —New York Times

“One of the best science writers around.” —National Geographic

"Rogers's book has much the same effect as a good drink. You get a warm sensation, you want to engage with the wider world, and you feel smarter than you probably are. Above all, it makes you understand how deeply human it is to take a drink." —Wall Street Journal

“A great read for barflies and know-it-alls—or the grad student who is likely both.” —New York Times’ T Magazine

"In this brisk dive into the history and geekery of our favorite social lubricant, Wired editor Adam Rogers gets under the cap and between the molecules to show what makes our favorite firewaters so irresistible and hard to replicate—and how a good stiff drink often doubles as a miracle of human ingenuity." —Mother Jones

"A comprehensive, funny look at booze...Like the best of its subject matter Proof’s blend of disparate ingredients goes down smooth, and makes you feel like an expert on the topic." —Discover

"A romp through the world of alcohol." —New York Post

"This science-steeped tale of humanity’s 10,000-year love affair with alcohol is an engaging trawl through fermentation, distillation, perception of taste and smell, and the biological responses of humans to booze...Proof is an entertaining, well researched piece of popular-science writing." —Nature

"A whiskey nerd's delight...Full of tasty asides and surprising science, this is entertaining even if you're the type who always drinks what the other guy is having." —Chicago Tribune

“Written in the same approachable yet science-savvy tone of other geeky tomes (think Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist and Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos), Rogers’ book sheds light on everything from barrels to bacteria strains.” —Imbibe Magazine

"This paean to booze is a thought-provoking scientific accompaniment to your next cup of good cheer."—The Scientist

"Follow a single, microscopic yeast cell down a rabbit hole, and Alice, aka Adam, will take you on a fascinating romp through the Wonderland of ethyl alcohol, from Nature’s own fermentation to today’s best Scotch whiskies—and worst hangovers. This book is a delightful marriage of scholarship and fun." —Robert L. Wolke, author of What Einstein Kept Under His Hat and What Einstein Told His Cook

"Proof, this irresistible book from Adam Rogers, shines like the deep gold of good whiskey. By which I mean it's smart in its science, fascinating in its complicated and very human history, and entertaining on all counts. And that it will make that drink in your hand a lot more interesting than you expected." —Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

"Absolutely compelling. Proof sits next to Wayne Curtis’ And a Bottle of Rum and Tom Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses as a must-read." —Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar manager at Clyde Common and author of The Bar Book

"Proof is science writing at its best—witty, elegant, and abrim with engrossing reporting that takes you to the frontiers of booze, and the people who craft it." —Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think

"Rogers distills history, archaeology, biology, sociology, and physics into something clear and powerful, like spirits themselves." Jim Meehan, author of The PDT Cocktail Book

"A page-turner for science-thirsty geeks and drink connoisseurs alike, Proof is overflowing with fun facts and quirky details. I'm drunk—on knowledge!" Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks

"Adam Rogers writes masterfully and gracefully about all the sciences that swirl around spirits, from the biology of a hangover to the paleontology of microbes that transform plant juices into alcohol. A book to be savored and revisited." Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and A Planet of Viruses

"Reading Proof feels just like you're having a drink with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic friend. Rogers' deep affinity for getting to the bottom of his subject shines through on every page." —Adam Savage, TV host and producer of MythBusters

"As a distiller I find most books on booze to be diluted. The science and history here are sure to satisfy the geekiest of drinkers. While the chapters, carried by stories, told through the lens of a rocks glass do not lose the casual. To get this kind of in depth overview of how spirits are produced, consumed and studied you'd have to read 20 books." —Vince Oleson, Head Distiller/Barrel Thief, Widow Jane Distillery

"An entertaining read...Rogers elegantly charges through what took me more than 5 years of research to learn...Proof will inspire and educate the oncoming hordes who intend to make their own booze and tear down the once solid regulatory walls of the reigning royal houses of liquor."
—Dan Garrison, Garrison Brothers Distillery

"From the action of the yeast to the blear of the hangover, via the witchery of fermentation, distillation and aging, Wired articles editor Rogers takes readers on a splendid tour of the booze-making process." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

"Impressively reported and entertaining...Rogers's cheeky and accessible writing style goes down smoothly, capturing the essence of this enigmatic, ancient social lubricant." —Publishers Weekly

Product Description

Named a Best Science Book of 2014 by Amazon, Wired, the Guardian, and NBC
Winner of the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Spirits Book in the United States
Finalist for the 2015 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
“Lively . . . [Rogers’s] descriptions of the science behind familiar drinks exert a seductive pull.” — New York Times

Humans have been perfecting alcohol production for ten thousand years, but scientists are just starting to distill the chemical reactions behind the perfect buzz. In a spirited tour across continents and cultures, Adam Rogers takes us from bourbon country to the world’s top gene-sequencing labs, introducing us to the bars, barflies, and evolving science at the heart of boozy technology. He chases the physics, biology, chemistry, and metallurgy that produce alcohol, and the psychology and neurobiology that make us want it. If you’ve ever wondered how your drink arrived in your glass, or what it will do to you, Proof makes an unparalleled drinking companion.
“Rogers’s book has much the same effect as a good drink. You get a warm sensation, you want to engage with the wider world, and you feel smarter than you probably are. Above all, it makes you understand how deeply human it is to take a drink.” — Wall Street Journal

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2051 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0544538544
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (May 27 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00E9FYSZ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,898 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Booze is civilization in a glass." Nov. 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The subject and the style make this popular history eminently readable and incredibly engaging (it kicks off with a debate about Vodka and Soda being the dumbest drink ever invented). Yet, what really lubricates the proceedings is the author's passion for the topic and the conversational manner he he brings about by discussing the impact, both good and bad, booze has had on society.

The chapters are well thought-out and follow the process of making booze: Yeast, Sugar, Fermentation, Distillation, Aging. These were fascinating and though the science challenged me at times it was never frustrating, besides, had Rogers dumbed it down too much it would lose all impact.

The book took off in the last chapters concerning Smell & Taste, Body & Brain, and finally, Hangover. This is where the expert layman like me could relate. What struck me was the discussion of the impact of environment has on those who drink and not just the intoxicants themselves. It was scary to learn about effect on our livers, brains and behaviour. While the content can disturb what Rogers has done is put this very human invention, extraordinarily large business, and pervasive past-time in context. He does so with a confident, self-deprecating, factual and approachable writing style. Here are three examples:

- “The bar, though, was cool and dry—not just air-conditioner cool, but cool like they were piping in an evening from late autumn. The sun hadn’t set, but inside, the dark wood paneling managed to evoke 10 P.M. In a good bar, it is always 10 P.M.”

- “Every four seconds, someone on earth buys a bottle of Glenlivet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A pleasant combination of scientific tome and the author's wry sense of humor. The prose is a bit dense at times, but an enjoyable read for those whose High School/College/University courses never really explained what it was that you were drinking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars like other reviews have noted Nov. 15 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm doing my WSET Diploma now and, like other reviews have noted, this is not an academic book that can be used for intense studying towards the diploma, MS, or MW. But holy moly, what an awesome book it was to read. It is a book whose author's tendrils of thought root through and around a subject as well as anything else that is related to it (such as the etymology of a particlar term). It pulls everything together beautifully and is intelligently opinionated at appropriate times to make things funny. Easily the best book I've read this year and likely next year too, if I read it again next year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Witty & Informational Nov. 17 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is more like the story of the science of booze. It is good to have a general knowledge of biology and chemistry (enough to understand basic terms), but it is not a boring textbook by any means. Science is weaved together with a story that takes you through every step of the booze-making process, including some historical accounts. A great read that will keep you turning pages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very educational. I had no idea there was so ... April 11 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very educational. I had no idea there was so much behind a glass of beer/wine/spirit !
A must-read for anyone who likes a drink.
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