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The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World Hardcover – Oct 13 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595552693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595552693
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.7 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times best-selling author of Lincoln's Battle with God, The Faith of Barack Obama, and Benedict XVI, Searching for God and Guinness, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill. Stephen lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Beverly

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By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 9 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the biography of a beer. I've never read the life story of a beer before. I have, however, read several biographies of great people and have always come away with an even greater appreciation of and respect for them, having learned more about them and how they impacted the times in which they lived. Like any good biography, the story of Guinness has bolstered and deepened my admiration for the tall, dark and handsome stout. I appreciate and respect it more now knowing its humble beginnings and the times, often harsh, in which both the beer and the family who brewed it lived and worked.

Mansfield tells the story in a straightforward and sympathetic manner. There is little flourish and, truthfully, not a lot of literary artistry here. But this seems fitting somehow in light of the plain, direct and sympathetic people the Guinnesses were. Mansfield's telling has enough detail to satisfy a popular audience about the family that founded this global institution as well as about the dark nectar itself, all without getting bogged down in brewing minutiae or the generations old gossip and conjecture which often finds its way into books on the Guinness family, much to their (and sometimes their lawyer's) annoyance. The reader is familiarized with the three "streams" of the Guinness family, those who brewed, those who banked, and those who preached, all of whom, in their day, were known as much for their humanitarian and charity work as they were for their vocations.
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Format: Hardcover
Fairly recently I heard a story about the founder of the Guinness brewing company being an evangelical Christian. I was not sure what to make of it, so when I encountered Stephen Mansfield's Searching For God and Guinness, I had to read this book. One of the things that I appreciated about the book was that the author did not rely on the myth, even if it was a heart-warming myth. The author has done his research and presents to us an interesting and inspiring story of a family that tried to make a difference. The story begins with Arthur Guinness, who eventually gets his own brewery. The story is not about the beer he brewed but about the ways he treated his employees. His evangelical faith shaped everything he did and it definitely showed in the culture of his company. He took care of his employees in a way that would shock many people today. The book continues with Arthur's successors, as they faced changing times while trying to be faithful to the original vision of the company. There basically were two lines of Arthur's descendants, those who went into the brewing industry and those who went into Christian ministry. Still, the author is quick to point out that some of those who went the brewing route, were just as active in Christian ministry as they used their influence and wealth to help those in need and to promote the cause of Christ. In some ways, the title of this book is misleading. Yes, God and faith pop up throughout the book, but really the book is about the Guinness family, their brewing adventures and their attempts to promote a generous lifestyle. After reading the book, it almost seems as if the title of Searching For God and Guinness was intended to draw Christian readers into getting a book about beer that they might not normally read.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I could have written a more positive review about this book, but I found it a genuine disappointment.

This book had a lot of potential to be a fantastic book, but there are two major let downs which are the author's style of writing and the author's personal religious views that bias his writings. The author did masses of research and there is no doubt that he knows his stuff on the subject, but how he communicates it, is very poor. The book is ultimately a long winded, meandering and dry, fact based narrative with detours that really go nowhere, which in the end, just makes it a difficult book to read. I just got the impression that, the topic was TOO specific for a book of this size.

Secondly, the author is obviously a religious man himself and wanted to write a book about his two passions in life, Beer and Christianity. So what comes across is a biased view point on a topic that throughout the whole book struggles to stay together.

There is no doubt that Arthur Guinness, his son and family did great things for the people of Ireland and for the improvement of social standards of the time and like most people who buy this book, they do so because of an already underlying enthusiasm for the Beer and the history of the man who made it.

I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about the man behind the pint that I love so dearly, and I did learn lots about him, but I did not enjoy the journey with this author.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Search For God and Guinness" is a parallel story of a business, the family who ran it, their relatives who served the Church and the role the business played in its community. This book presents a two centuries long tale which is as fascinating as it is enjoyable.

Guinness, as most readers are probably aware, is the world famous Irish brewer of stout, a dark beer, as opposed to the lighter, Pilsner beers which dominate the American market. The business was started by Arthur Guinness, the first Arthur, in 1759 with the purchase of a lapsed brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin. Throughout the years the brewery would grow to the benefit of owners, customers, its workers and those who were objects of its benevolence.

The book begins with a history of beer in the millennia leading up to the advent of Guinness. The role of beer in the legend of Gilgamesh, and the lives of St. Patrick, Charlemagne and Martin Luther and the economies of Medieval monasteries is explained.

Guinness itself would become a major component of the Irish economy. It would employ thousands and provide markets for agricultural products used in its processes. It would supply refreshment for troops in Britain's wars and become a worldwide ambassador for Ireland. Of particular interest is the section on Guinness' first advertising initiatives and the stories behind the posters which I have often seen in a favorite restaurant.

Business success enables other successes also. Operating under the maxim that: "You cannot make money from people unless you are willing for people to make money from you", Guinness was a pioneer in paying high wages and providing clean housing, health care and opportunity for self -improvement to its workers and their families. The career of Dr.
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