By Tom Standage Walker & Co., New York 2005 $25 (hardcover) The six glasses of the title are six beverages that, the author suggests, had a remarkable influence on human history, to the point that the stories of the six collectively are in effect a pretty good stand-in for a history of human civilization. Standage's Big Six are beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee and cola, and his gimmick, if perhaps questionable as history, is delightful as narrative.The book is an easy read, full of ...

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