Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Thomas Standage's A History of the World in Six Glasses. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Six Glasses: Context
Six Glasses: Plot Summary
Six Glasses: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Six Glasses: Themes
Six Glasses: Quotes
Six Glasses: Characters
Six Glasses: Symbols
Six Glasses: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Thomas Standage
Historical Context of A History of the World in Six Glasses
Other Books Related to A History of the World in Six Glasses
- Full Title: A History of the World in Six Glasses
- Where Written: London, England
- When Published: June 2005
- Literary Period: Contemporary Non-fiction
- Genre: Creative Non-fiction, Historical Commentary
- Setting: Too many to name—the book travels across history and around the world, focusing on settings like ancient Greece, Victorian England, Enlightenment France, and feudal Japan.
- Climax: None: the book is structured as a collection of six essays, each of which deals with a different beverage and historical era.
- Antagonist: None
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for A History of the World in Six Glasses
Tom Standage: an unofficial biography: At the age of six, Tom Standage’s daughter Ella wrote the following about her father: “My daddy’s name is tom. he tells me storys. He likes beer coffee and rum. he has bron hair and blue eyes. he has a nose that looks funny. he is 36 years old. he is great! he has big ears. he works in the Economist. he ritse books. he isent very good at gardening. he dose smelly farts. I love him.” Enough said.
Quite the “niche”: Tom Standage has spent most of his adult life exploring an unusual thesis: that the world hasn’t changed much since the Victorian era. While this might seem to be obviously untrue (all sorts of things we take for granted today, such as the Internet, the airplane, the radio, and the computer, didn’t exist 150 years ago), Standage’s point is that while much important technology has been invented since the Victorian era, there have been almost no improvements in the basic scientific breakthrough of that time: the discovery of the electric signal. As one might imagine, there aren’t many people who agree with Standage’s argument, and in recent years he has relished his status as a lone detractor against the glory of the Internet, writing pieces for The Economist and giving TED talks.