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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

All About Coffee by William H. Ukers

Every dog has its day and all that but All About Coffee is long past its best before date. Had I realised that it was written in the 1920s I would never have bothered reading it.

Only gradually did I realise that then words of William H. Ukers were penned nearly 100 years ago: consequently nearly everything he had to say about the consumption of coffee was totally out of date, and the history of the drink is of course incomplete by several decades. The (American) author went all round the world seeing how people drank coffee at the time, when the world was a much less homogeneous place. He wrote off the UK in about two sentences, saying we were a nation of tea drinkers and probably always would be. That certainly is not the case any more - far more people drink coffee than tea these days it would seem to me.

I fail to see why this book was re-published more or less in full in 2012. I cannot possess who but a historian with a specialised interest could ever be interested in this book. I award it 2 out of 10.

All About Coffee concludes those cases I can read in the Food/Drink section for now. My journey around the perimeter of the library takes me next to biography - and soon I will be in sight of the door when I started! Biography is a hard section to choose from  because to immerse yourself in someone's life you really have to be interested in the person. I struggled to find a book on the first case and in the end picked a book about Alfred Wainright.

I don't know much about Wainright other than he wrote a famous book about walking which has spawned the Coast to Coast phenomenon in the UK. Given that I am embarked upon the Pennine Way at the moment, and completed the North Downs Way last year, it seems quite timely to dip into the life of another walker, even if I know little about Wainright.

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