Yesterday I was reading the New Yorker, and came across a synopsis of Susan Cheever's book, Drinking in America. Intrigued, I downloaded it to my Kindle, started reading, and didn't stop until I finished.
Those who love to claim relationship to their Mayflower ancestry might want to re-think. What intrigued me was that John and Abigail Adams lost two sons and two grandsons to alcoholism. I had no idea how many lives have been ruined by this disease. She also gives a sobering account of the drinking the secret service agents had done the night/morning before Kennedy was killed. What if they had slept well and sober as they had signed on to do? Would Kennedy have lived? And Nixon - I had no idea that Kissinger saved us from WWIII. Okay, this is her interpretation and research but it is sobering, literally, to read.
I love this from the New Yorker synopsis. "Not every boozy encounter ended poorly though - the Colonies' taverns, which the Puritans considered "gifts from God," became the primary meeting place for revolutionaries."
Good to know. I recommend this book as a look at how history forms and is formed. It's worth a toast, or not, but it is a sober look at how alcohol founded this country, and how we still struggle with how to, or whether to, regulate substances like this. We come across as a pretty crazy country, and one can laugh and/or cry at the humanness of we fragile, mostly well-intentioned and sometimes needy human beings.