An informative but somewhat inconclusive study.



A brief glimpse into the increasing gentrification of tequila.

Widely published food and travel journalist Martineau makes her nonfiction debut with this thoroughly researched study of what appears to be a growing trend in the spirit world: the rise of tequila from a low-end frat-party tipple to a high-end connoisseur’s sipping drink. But the book is about more than just tequila’s new image as a luxury product; it’s also about the processes and people behind the making of the drink, the conflicts over mass-produced tequila versus more exclusive artisanal tequila (Patron et al.), and the agave activists who fight to keep tequila “real”—i.e., a Mexican product through and through. “How Mexicans are viewed—either by themselves or by foreigners—has long influenced how tequila is marketed,” writes the author, “both in the United States and in Mexico.” Through the marketing of tequila, using old-world Mexican authenticity as its selling point, it has become, ironically, just as American as it is Mexican. Martineau chronicles her interviews with a variety of industry insiders, from small producers and agave growers from Mexico’s Jalisco region to hipster mixologists and corporate CEOs pushing their upper-crust customers to take on what passes for authentic Mexican tequila. The real problem is not so much that age-old traditions are being made a mockery of in the mass production of tequila; the trouble comes when the production and bottling of the drink get increasingly co-opted by corporations based in the U.S., which means fewer jobs for Mexican workers in Mexico. So, as Martineau objectively presents it, the very factors that are making tequila so popular are also threatening to undermine it. Unfortunately, however, the book’s reportorial nature doesn’t lend itself to theorizing on what might ultimately be the answer to tequila’s curious new authenticity problem.

An informative but somewhat inconclusive study.

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61374-905-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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