A History of the World in Six Glasses

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

A History of the World in Six Glasses Quotes

Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Walker Publishing Company edition of A History of the World in Six Glasses published in 2006.
Introduction Quotes

As the tides of history have ebbed and flowed, different drinks have come to prominence in different times, places, and cultures, from stone-age villages to ancient Greek dining rooms or Enlightenment coffeehouses. Each one became popular when it went on to influence the course of history in unexpected ways.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

In this introductory paragraph, Standage gives a "thesis statement" for his entire book. In short, he's going to argue that we can understand important things about the history of human civilization by studying what beverages humans have drunk over the centuries. While this may seem like an odd thesis, Standage has a clever argument to convince readers that he's right. He argues that drinking is a central part of culture: every civilization had different beverages, and places that were intended for the consumption of beverages. Furthermore, the consumption of beverages is a starting point for all kinds of important cultural activities: everything from romance to scientific innovation. So as unusual as Standage's idea might seem at first, it's actually true that studying beverages can be a novel and productive way to study history.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A History of the World in Six Glasses quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

In some European nations, and particularly in Britain, coffee was challenged by tea imported from China. Its popularity in Europe helped to open lucrative trade routes with the East and underpinned imperialism and industrialization on an unprecedented scale, enabling Britain to become the first global superpower.

Related Symbols: Coffee, Tea
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Standage gives an example of how we can learn about history by studying a specific beverage. The cultural and military competition between Britain and China during the 18th and 19th centuries was mirrored in the gastronomical competition between coffee and tea. This makes a certain kind of sense: a civilization that's powerful and wealthy will have the resources to spread its cultural artifacts around the world. In this way, one could say that tea and coffee are "cultural markers—-i.e., every cup of tea or coffee consumed is a cultural victory for China or Britain, respectively.

Standage is also making the stronger claim that Britain became an imperialist superpower in part because of the popularity of tea: Britain traded heavily with China because British people enjoyed the taste of that particular drink. Throughout the book, Standage will study beverages from both of these perspectives. At times he'll argue that beverages reflect world history; elsewhere, he argues that beverages can themselves change world history.

Chapter 1 Quotes

Beer was not invented but discovered. Its discovery was inevitable once the gathering of wild grains became widespread after the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 BCE, in a region known as the Fertile Crescent.

Related Symbols: Beer
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
In this passage, Standage explains that beer was discovered, partly by accident, due to the large amount of wheat and grain in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Standage doesn't explain exactly how beer was discovered—because, of course, he has no way of knowing this. For the early chapters of the book, which deal with ancient history and even prehistory, there's less specific information than we'll find later on; just a general idea that certain beverages arise because of the available resources. But in this way, Standage emphasizes the importance of coincidences and accidents in innovation. All sorts of important inventions were happened upon because of lucky accidents (like the discovery of penicillin, for example). Beer is no exception.

Unlike food, beverages can genuinely be shared. When several people drink beer from the same vessel, they are all consuming the same liquid; when cutting up a piece of meat, in contrast, some parts are usually deemed to be more desirable than others. As a result, sharing a drink with someone is a universal symbol of hospitality and friendship. It signals that the person offering the drink can be trusted, by demonstrating that it is not poisoned or otherwise unsuitable for consumption.

Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Standage makes an important point about beverages: they're different from foods in the sense that they can be shared evenly. Although in this case Standage is talking about beer specifically, his arguments can be applied to the rest of his book: enjoying a beverage with someone is a universal sign of equality and friendship, in part because beverages can be divided equally.

Standage's observations about the "equality" of beer point to an interesting tension in the history of beverages. Although beverages are virtually unique in the sense that they can be divided equally, they can also be a sign of elitism, sophistication, and superiority—i.e., the opposite of equality. (Wine is an excellent example of a drink that usually signals elitism, not equality.)

Chapter 2 Quotes

Enkidu’s primitive nature is demonstrated by his lack of familiarity with bread and beer; but once he has consumed them, and then washed himself, he too becomes a human and is then ready to go to Uruk, the city ruled by Gilgamesh. The Mesopotamians regarded the consumption of bread and beer as one of the things that distinguished them from savages and made them fully human.

Related Characters: Gilgamesh , Enkidu
Related Symbols: Beer
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're told that the legendary character Enkidu, from the Mesopotamian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, was a savage, dangerous individual, as evidenced by his unfamiliarity with beer.

It might seem unusual to associate civilization with the ability to make an alcoholic beverage, since alcohol has traditionally been associated with wildness, violence, and uncontrollable energy. (It might also seem odd to link beer and civility, since most "civilized" people nowadays don't have a clue how to make beer!) Even so, Standage argues that the Mesopotamians admired the ability to brew and consume beer because it represented the ability to master one's environment. Brewing beer was one of the earliest forms of agriculture, meaning that it was one of the key steps in the history of civilization. The history of beer, therefore, is the history of the birth of civilization—an excellent example of how we can study history and culture by studying drinks.

Whether in stone-age villages, Mesopotamian banqueting halls, or modern pubs and bars, beer has brought people together since the dawn of civilization.

Related Symbols: Beer
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Standage argues that beer has the power to bring people together. It might seem odd to think that the beverage itself—beer or otherwise—has the power to change human behavior (it would seem to make more sense to say, "I'm choosing to get a beer with my friend," not, "The beer is bring my friend and me together"). And yet on closer inspection, Standage's idea isn't as odd as it might appear right away. Whether in bars or at home, there's an unwritten rule that drinking together is a way to build a friendship. In part, this is the case because beer is cheap and accessible—there isn't necessarily a way to show off while drinking beer. In general, then, to drink a beer is to "be equal" to other people, to establish a friendly relationship over an intoxicating beverage.

Chapter 3 Quotes

Enthusiasm for civilized competition and Greece’s presumed superiority over foreigners were apparent in the Greek love of wine. It was drunk at formal dining parties, or symposia, which were venues for playful but adversarial discussion in which drinkers would try to outdo each other in wit, poetry, or rhetoric. The formal, intellectual atmosphere of the symposion also reminded the Greeks how civilized they were, in contrast to the barbarians, who either drank lowly, unsophisticated beer or—even worse—drank wine but failed to do so in a manner that met with Greek approval.

Related Symbols: Beer, Wine
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

The ancient Greeks loved to drink wine for a number of reasons, whether they were totally conscious of those reasons or not. To begin with, Standage argues that drinking wine was a way to test one's wit and intelligence: if you could drink wine and still hold your own in an argument, you were pretty smart and self-controlled (this isn't so different from the modern idea of being able to "hold your liquor"—a definite sign of maturity). Second, wine was a way for the Greeks to celebrate their own civilization's superiority. The association between wine and civilization ties in with Standage's general point about beverages and cultures. Drinking a drink takes no skill, and everyone can do it; the only requirement is that one have access to the drink in question. As a result, drinks are an excellent way for a group of people to celebrate their membership in the group. By drinking wine, the Greeks were implicitly saying, "We are Greeks, and you (barbarians, foreigners, etc.) aren't."

As wine became more widely available—so widely available that even the slaves drank it—what mattered was no longer whether or not you drank wine, but what kind it was. For while the availability of wine was more democratic in Greek society than in other cultures, wine could still be used to delineate social distinctions.

Related Symbols: Wine
Page Number: 54-55
Explanation and Analysis:

In the ancient world, wine became more and more available. the growing availability of wine created an interesting situation: wine had always been the drink of prestige and sophistication, so its widening availability was something of a challenge to the elites. The elites' response was to stratify the consumption of wine by choosing ever more elaborate and expensive vintages for themselves. One could even say that wine was a metaphor for the nature of ancient Greek democracy: although wine was technically available to everyone, there were definitely some people who had more access to wine—and better wine at that—than others. In general, this quote is a great example of the paradox of beverages: beverages are symbols of equality, but also of elitism. In the end, what usually happens is that beverages become stratified, just like wine, in such a way that they're available to everyone, but in different qualities and at different prices.

Plato saw drinking as a way to test oneself, by submitting to the passions aroused by drinking: anger, love, pride, ignorance, greed, and cowardice. He even laid down rules for the proper running of a symposion, which should ideally enable men to develop resistance to their irrational urges and triumph over their inner demons.

Related Characters: Plato
Related Symbols: Wine
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Plato, the important ancient Greek philosopher, wrote extensively about the importance of wine and alcohol to human thought. Plato was interested in wine because it dimmed the powers of the intellect and aroused humans' natural tendencies to be wild, angry, greedy, etc. In short, Plato saw wine as bringing out the worst in human nature. It's for this reason that wine was so important to Plato: he believed that drinking wine was a way for intellectuals to "build up" control over their base urges. If a philosopher could drink wine and still be intelligent and self-controlled, then he was a great man. (At the end of Plato's Symposium, Socrates wins an elaborate argument while drinking massive amounts of wine, proving that he's truly the wisest man at the party.)

Chapter 4 Quotes

While the richest Romans drank the finest wines, poorer citizens drank lesser vintages, and so on down the social ladder. So fine was the calibration of wine with status that drinkers at a Roman banquet, or convivium, would be served different wines depending on their positions in society.

Related Symbols: Wine
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

As the quotation shows, the ancient Romans' attitude toward drinking wine is perhaps the best example of stratification in the consumption of a beverage. While wine is a traditional symbol of power and sophistication, it was also widely available in the ancient world, especially in Roman society. In order to cement their status as elites, the leaders of ancient Rome developed elaborate, expensive vintages to drink, thereby proving that they were truly superior to the Roman masses, even if everyone did drink wine. While the Roman stratification of wine is similar to the stratification of the drink that occurred in ancient Greek society, it's important to recognize the differences. Roman stratification was much more precise and specific than its Greek counterpart. This suggests that Roman society was more rigidly hierarchical and less mobile than Greek society.

Wherever alcohol is drunk, wine is regarded as the most civilized and cultured of drinks. In those countries, wine, not beer, is served at state banquets and political summits, an illustration of wine’s enduring association with status, power, and wealth.

Related Symbols: Beer, Wine
Page Number: 89-90
Explanation and Analysis:

At the conclusion of his chapter on wine, Standage argues that wine has remained the drink of prestige and sophistication throughout the Western world (even in China, French wines are the ultimate drink for the elite). This suggests a couple things. First, it reminds us that drinks (or just commodities in general) are often associated with power and prestige simply because they're hard to get, not because they're inherently better. In other words, wine is a drink for elites, not because it's superior to beer but because it takes a long time to make it, and a lot of skill to make it well. In short, by drinking wine, a person is implying that he or she has the money to spend on the drink. Second, the supremacy of wine today is proof that stratification is an important way for elite beverages to remain elite, even after they become more accessible. Although wine overall has become pretty cheap and affordable, the most expensive wine has actually become less and less affordable. It's for this reason that people can buy "two-buck Chuck" from the grocery store, while presidents and kings wash down their caviar with champagne: these drinks are both wine, but one kind of wine is far more expensive and desirable than the other.

Chapter 5 Quotes

It soon became customary for Europeans to present large quantities of alcohol, known as dashee or bizy, as a gift before beginning negotiations with African traders.

Related Symbols: Spirits
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

In the early modern era, the European explorers sailed to Africa, the Americas, and Asia. During the course of their expeditions, they traded extensively with the native peoples of these "new" continents. It's disturbing to think that the Europeans made sure to offer their trading partners alcohol before they began their business deals: Standage is clearly implying that the Europeans did so because they thought that intoxicated negotiators would be easier to argue with than sober ones. The Europeans' trading habits suggest that the Europeans saw alcoholic spirits as a weapon, something designed to help them maintain their economic and military control over the world. In all, the quote is a powerful reminder that beverages can control people's behavior, often in direct, measurable ways, and that Westerners often used alcohol to manipulate the people they wanted to exploit. 

Chapter 6 Quotes

Jefferson did his best to cultivate wines in America and advocated a reduction in the excise duty charge on imported wine as “the only antidote to the bane of whiskey.” But his cause was hopeless. Wine was far more expensive, contained less alcohol, and lacked the American connotations of whiskey, an unpretentious drink associated with independence and self-sufficiency.

Related Characters: Thomas Jefferson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Wine, Spirits
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, we're told that Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers, tried and failed to popularize wine, his favorite beverage, in the newly established United States.

It's important to recognize that Jefferson failed for two basic reasons: wine wasn't practical, and it clashed with the idea of American culture. In the former case, wine was too expensive to import from Europe (the only area of the world where wine could be grown at the time—the California vineyards were centuries away). In the latter case, wine was seen by the American people as a symbol of "old-world" arrogance and snobbishness; in other words, everything that the Americans had started a revolution to escape. The Americans' two basic reasons for rejecting wine (practicality and cultural associations) reflect the two sides of beverages as Standage writes about them: first, the physical processes used to make beverages; second, the stereotypes that arise around beverages as a result of the way they're made, sold, or consumed.

Whatever [the origins of the custom of drinking while trading with Indians], this custom was widely exploited by Europeans, who took care to supply large quantities of alcohol when trading with Indians for goods or land.

Related Symbols: Spirits
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Standage reminds readers of the dark side of European history. For hundreds of years, European explorers colonized other parts of the world, often using brutal military power to control and even enslave their enemies. Arguably the most important word in this quotation is "exploited." Standage means that the Europeans offered alcohol to ensure that the Native Americans would be almost incapacitated during negotiations, so that they would be able to get great deals for land and supplies.

The quotation is an excellent example of how a beverage can be used for more than just the drinker's pleasure—or rather, how a drinker's pleasure can have serious historical results. The Native Americans' fondness for alcohol, something they'd never tasted before, led them to surrender some of their own land, weakening their position against the European explorers.

Chapter 7 Quotes

The diffusion of this new rationalism throughout Europe was mirrored by the spread of a new drink, coffee, that promoted sharpness and clarity of thought. It became the preferred drink of scientists, intellectuals, merchants, and clerks—today we would call them “information workers.”

Related Symbols: Coffee
Page Number: 134-35
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Standage discusses the influence of coffee on the Age of Enlightenment—the period of European history in the 17th and 18th century when European intellectuals came to celebrate the importance of rationality, deep thought, and experimentation. As Standage sees it, coffee contributed to rationalism in the most literal of ways: it stimulated the brain, allowing people to think, talk, and focus for longer periods of time.

The popularity of coffee in Europe, Standage further points out, marked changes in the structure of European society, too. While many kinds of people enjoyed coffee, the drink was especially popular among information workers. The popularity of coffee among these kinds of people shows that Europe was transitioning from an economy founded on manual labor, military valor, and other physical endeavors, to an economy based on intelligence, quick thinking, and other intellectual endeavors. In short, coffee set the Western world on its current path.

But of even greater significance than [coffee] was the novel way in which it was consumed: in coffeehouses, which dispensed conversation as much as coffee. In doing so, coffeehouses provided an entirely new environment for social, intellectual, commercial, and political exchange.

Related Symbols: Coffee
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

Having already argued that coffee literally stimulated the mind and the imagination, Standage makes the additional argument that the coffeehouse stimulated innovation, too. By this point in the book, the idea that social spaces promote longstanding social relationships is nothing new: we've already seen how bars promote friendship and equality; the symposium promoted philosophy and self-control, etc. The coffeehouse, then, was the successor to a long line of drinking spaces.

What kind of drinking space was the coffeehouse? The role of coffeehouses in 18th century Europe points to the importance of collaboration, competition, and group work in European history. Arguably the key word in the quotation is "exchange"—after all, the 18th century was the time when the modern capitalist economy was on the rise. In coffeehouses, businessmen exchanged money and credit, just as scientists and writers exchanged ideas. Furthermore, the groups that passed time in coffeehouses formed rivalries with one another, like businesses competing to make the best product. As a whole, coffeehouses were places for businesslike competition and achievement: the intimacy and energy of the coffeehouse encouraged it.

Chapter 8 Quotes

French coffeehouses highlighted the paradox that despite the intellectual advances of the Enlightenment, progress in the social and political spheres had been hindered by the dead hand of the ancien regime. The wealthy aristocracy and clergy, a mere 2 percent of the population, were exempt from taxes, so the burden of taxation fell on everyone else: the rural poor and the wealthier members of the bourgeoisie, who resented the aristocracy’s firm grip on power and privilege. In coffeehouses the contrast between radical new ideas about how the world might be and how it actually was became most apparent.

Related Symbols: Coffee
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

The quote describes how the coffeehouses of 18th century France inspired the intellectual middle classes of the country to rise up against their social and political superiors. As Standage says, France in the 18th century was an incredibly unequal society, in which a tiny fraction of the country enjoyed the vast bulk of the country's wealth and power (something that hasn't changed much in today's society). The inequality of French society as a whole contrasted markedly with the atmosphere of equality and open exchange within a French coffeehouse. In short, Standage is suggesting (a little playfully) that French coffee drinkers wanted their entire country to be as open and equal as the coffeehouses where they spent their time.

The quote offers an interesting variation on the familiar theme of drinking spaces. Earlier in the book, Standage offered examples of drinking spaces that were intended to be separate from the outside world—refuges from the troubles of life. In the case of coffeehouses, however, Standage offers an example of a drinking space that inspires its patrons to go out and change the outside world. As Standage shows later in the chapter, French coffeehouse patrons were instrumental in the beginning of the French Revolution—the popular uprising against the wealthy elite of France. Coffeehouses offered a "utopia" for their patrons, and these patrons then tried to establish such a utopia throughout the country.

Is it any surprise that the current center of coffee culture, the city of Seattle, home to Starbucks coffeehouse chain, is also where some of the world’s largest software and Internet firms are based? Coffee’s association with innovation, reason, and networking—plus a dash of revolutionary fervor—has a long pedigree.

Related Symbols: Coffee
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

It's a mark of coffee's continued relevance to information work, the quote suggests, that Seattle is the home of Internet innovation and Starbucks. In other words, the suggestion seems to be that coffee continues to inspire good ideas and creative thinking. More specifically, though, coffee appears to be particularly good at inspiring the exchange of new information and new ideas. Just as coffee encouraged French philosophers and English scientists to collaborate on new projects, it may be encouraging 21st-century engineers to improve the Internet—the ultimate medium for the free exchange of information.

It's important to recognize that Standage phrases this quotation as a rhetorical question. To be frank, Standage has no way of proving that Starbucks and Microsoft are linked in any literal way; the best he can do is to describe the general trends relating to coffee and innovation. Because there isn't much specific information on the history of beverages, Standage is often forced to make assumptions and educated guesses about the role of a drink in world history.

Chapter 9 Quotes

For the poor, tea gradually became an affordable luxury, and then a necessity: tricks such as stretching a small quantity of tea with the addition of more water or reusing tea leaves, finally brought the drink within everyone’s reach, in some form at least.

Related Symbols: Tea
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

As the quote makes clear, the history of tea illustrates how a once-exotic beverage gradually becomes more affordable and accessible for a large group of people. Tea used to be a luxury, available only for those who could afford to import it from China. But as the Western world began to trade with China more regularly, tea became a normal part of life for average Western people.

The phrase "in some form at least" provides an important point of clarification. Standage isn't saying that all kinds of tea became equally available for all kinds of people. On the contrary, some kinds of tea remained exotic and expensive, while others became cheaper and commoner. The history of tea illustrates how a beverage (or a commodity more generally) slowly becomes more widely available: its quality and price become stratified.

Chapter 10 Quotes

Just as deskbound clerks, businessmen, and intellectuals had taken to coffee in the seventeenth century, the workers in the new factories of the eighteenth century embraced tea. It was the beverage best suited to these new working arrangements and helped industrialization along in a number of ways. Mill owners began to offer their employees free “tea breaks” as a perk.

Related Symbols: Tea
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:

In the 18th century, the modern European economy and class system was beginning to take form. And, as the quotation states, beverages were an important benchmark of the newly emerging class system: different parts of European society drank different drinks, and defined themselves by their choice of beverage. While upper middle class intellectuals preferred coffee, working class people preferred tea.

What factors made coffee a distinctly middle class, intellectual drink and tea a more common working-class drink? Standage doesn't (and can't) offer a complete answer to this question. While he suggests that coffee was a good fit for intellectuals because it focused the mind, he also admits that a social class's drinking preference is partly coincidental. Had coffee or tea become available at a slightly different historical era, then tea could have become the intellectual's drink and coffee the preferred drink of the factory worker.

Britain has remained a nation of tea drinkers ever since [the glory days of the British Empire]. And around the world, the historical impact of its empire and the drink that fueled it can still be seen today.

Related Symbols: Tea
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

The quotation sums up Standage's history of tea consumption by reiterating the close relationship between the United Kingdom and tea—and between empires and beverages in general. Although Britain did not discover tea, it spread tea around the world. Tea was a virtual symbol of the British Empire, the international force that conquered and colonized more than a quarter of the Earth's surface during the 18th and 19th centuries. Wherever the British founded a new country, they established places for the production, sale, and consumption of tea. In this sense, the popularity of tea provided a benchmark for the strength of the British Empire.

The enduring popularity of tea in former British colonies, such as Canada, Australia, and India, illustrates the full influence of British imperialism. Even if Britain no longer exerts military or political control over Canada or India, the popularity of a distinctly British drink there confirms Britain's "soft power"; its cultural influence on these territories. 

Chapter 11 Quotes

Ultimately, [Coke and Pepsi] benefited from each other’s existence: the existence of a rival kept Coca-Cola on its toes, and Pepsi-Cola’s selling proposition, that it offered twice as much for the same price, was only possible because Coca-Cola had established the market in the first place. The rivalry was a classic example of how vigorous competition can benefit consumers and increase demand.

Related Symbols: Coca-Cola
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

One of the major themes of Standage's book, especially in the second half, is the rise of capitalism: the economic system in which private businesses compete with one another to offer superior goods at the best prices. At its best, capitalist competition can reduce prices, benefitting customers, while also improving businesses and inspiring innovation. In the rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the two companies offered a very similar product, so they had to use clever marketing and business strategies to impress customers. Most importantly, both companies had to offer the cheapest soda possible, since low price, at least as much as high quality, attracted customers. In the end, both Coke and Pepsi became highly successful companies. Their success reflected the rise of capitalism as a whole in the United States (and foreshadowed the way that Coke would be conflated with capitalism itself throughout the Cold War).

Chapter 12 Quotes

Coca-Cola came to stand for everything that was deemed wrong with capitalism, particularly the notion that satisfying consumers’ often trivial demands should be the organizing principle of the economy.

Related Symbols: Coca-Cola
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:

The history of Coca-Cola is perhaps the best example of Standage's thesis that beverages symbolize ideas and entire cultures. In the case of Coke, the soft drink came to symbolize the spirit of American capitalism. In part, Coke came to symbolize capitalism because the drink was heavily associated with the American military during World War Two. After the war, Coke was conflated with America, but specifically with America's militaristic, aggressive policies. For intellectuals and philosophers, Coca-Cola was virtually a military force: a cultural weapon that, much like capitalism, "conquered" sophisticated cultures and replaced them with disgusting, mass-produced products. (In Italy, for example, the popularity of Coke helped shut down some of the country's prized vineyards.)

The quotation also suggests how Coke came to symbolize the vacuousness and triteness of mass capitalism. For some, the fact that Coca-Cola was a cheap, available, and widely-consumed product was a symbol of American society at its best. For others, though, the very fact that everyone drank Coke represented how American capitalism was making people dull, unimaginative, and narrow-minded.

Coca-Cola is unquestionably the drink of the twentieth century, and all that goes with it: the rise of the United Sates, the triumph of capitalism over consumerism, and the advance of globalization. Whether you approve of that mixture or not, you cannot deny the breadth of its appeal.

Related Symbols: Coca-Cola
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:

This quotation sums up Standage's arguments about the history of Coca-Cola during the 20th century. Standage argues that Coca-Cola reflects the rise of America, capitalism, and globalization. The very fact that people on all seven continents, of all races, religions, and classes, consume Coke is a tribute to the success of globalization: thanks to the availability of Coca-Cola, the people of the world are "united" with one another via what they buy.

Notably, Standage doesn't offer judgment on whether or not the rise of Coca-Cola is worth celebrating or condemning; he leaves his readers to make up their own minds. His role as a historian and an author is to present the facts, not to interpret them in terms of "good" or "bad."

No matches.