Item description for Gin: The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva by Patrick Dillon...
This book follows gin's introduction, its rise in popularity, the prohibition and the bootleg underground, straight on through to regulation and the big businesses that still dominate the industry today.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.74" Width: 6.32" Height: 1.21" Weight: 1.48 lbs.
Release Date Feb 25, 2003
Publisher Justin, Charles & Co.
ISBN 1932112006 ISBN13 9781932112009
Availability 0 units.
More About Patrick Dillon
Dillon grew up among commerical fishermen on an island in Puget Sound. He is a former editor and columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and has won numerous national journalism awards, including a share of the Pulitzer Prize.
Patrick Dillon currently resides in San Francisco, in the state of California. Patrick Dillon was born in 1945.
Reviews - What do customers think about Gin: The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva?
Uneven, but worthwhile Jan 10, 2006
The problem with this book is that it's uneven, in both its content and its writing style. Writing about Gin in the 1700s, Dillon does an excellent job of finding and presenting the sources that reveal both the origins of gin, reasons for its initial growth and popularity, the successive attempts and prohibition and the eventual compromise of restriction but acceptance. Unfortunately, while belaboring some of this information, he expects and doesn't explain some of the more unusual aspects of eighteenth century England, such as exactly what magistrates were and how much power they wielded. It would have been useful, as well, when he was connecting the government's policies regarding gin to the greater politics of monarchical succession and conflicts between England and Spain to have given a small primer in both. Instead, you have to figure a lot of this extra knowledge by simply having been familiar with these topics prior to reading this book, by referencing other works to fill in the gaps, or attempting to understand these issues by reading between the lines. Ultimately, this was very frustrating.
And that's too bad, because Dillon's topic and argument is timely and interesting. Although he has an epilogue that underscores this point, Dillon's depiction of England's dance with Madame Geneva is unmistakeably an object lesson that has already been ignored once by the United States, during the 1920s, and is being ignored once again today in the War on Drugs. Truly, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and this is history that has been ignored so long that it is forgotten. There are reasons for it, for the forces of moralism and sobriety, driven by their fundamentalist doctrine, have not given up their battle against intoxicating substances no matter the pragmatical realities and lessons of the past. We can only hope that, like England's Gin Act of 1751 and the repeal of prohibition in the U.S. in 1929, there will be a future day where an armistice is declared and we can take control of the drug trade, and, ultimately, attack the root causes that drive people to abuse substances.
There aren't any hints for the perfect martini Jul 21, 2003
Patrick Dillon's account of the Gin Craze of the 18th century is an informative, well-written, and lively account of the social problems surrounding the introduction of high-octane spirits into English society. He provides enough names-and-dates for demanding historians without being pedantic. Mr. Dillon describes in detail the great toll 'Madame Geneva' took on the poor: the spirit's maiming and blinding qualities (turpentine was a favorite flavoring agent after all); the destruction of the social fabric; the ill-begotten reform attempts. (I did find myself wishing he had more fully described when gin cleaned up its act and became a respectable liquor; maybe that will be in the sequel!). Mr. Dillon pointedly closes his book with the lesson that those who don't know history are destined to repeat it: the war on drugs has failed, just as previous attempts at prohibition have failed.