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I found the title a little deceiving; implying as it does that this is something of a light hearted look at drinking in America. That said, the book still satisfies as a serious and well researched history. The trend of looking at popular history from all angles seems to have brought out the best in historians. In this particular book Sismondo does a great job of sussing out the best and worst of the politics and community life that flowed through taverns and bars throughout the American journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2011
Don't look for the punch line here - this is not a joke book. It's a well written history with plenty of wry humor and chock full of fascinating stories. It's not just another book about bars nor is it a boring historical treatise. The author has meticulously researched and documented the ties between the tavern, bar etc, and the social, cultural and political evolution of America but written about it in such a way that it feels like a conversation taking place in - well - a bar. This is a really enjoyable book that taught me a great many things I thought I already knew.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2011
Amazing book!!
It's crazy to imagine that so much has happened inside of places that we walk past every day and take for granted. I'm about half way through the book so far so this isn't a full review, but up to now it has been qiute informational and intriguing. I'm looking forward to the rest.
Might even come out of my shell today and hit a bar.
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on October 25, 2011
Sismondo is an excellent writer, combining love for bars and saloons with her own trademark wit and scholarship. As you can imagine from the subject matter, it is a lively and engrossing read. It would make a great gift for the man in your family who keeps watching history shows on TV or, heck, your favorite bartender. (And shouldn't a bartender get an extra tip at Christmas?) Come to think of it, it would make a great gift for a college student working part-time at a bar, too.
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