A beer garden of a book that leaves no stein unturned.

AMBITIOUS BREW

THE STORY OF AMERICAN BEER

From kegs to bottles to cans, the making and selling of beer encapsulates in various ways the larger history of American taste and how business catered to it.

Once upon a time, writes social historian Ogle (All the Modern Conveniences, not reviewed, etc.), dark ale was the liquid of choice. Then came the peaceful, mid-19th century Teutonic invasion. Occupying brew houses in New York, St. Louis, Milwaukee and wherever else German immigrants settled, Biermeisters began brewing Pilsner- and Budweiser-style lagers. Americans consumed the stuff in sumptuous beer gardens, the amusement parks of the day, and they drank it in the new taverns and in the ubiquitous old saloons. Then came WWI and anti-German sentiment, followed by Prohibition. Brewers suffered, and the happy days ushered in by Repeal weren’t quite the same. Industrial beer-makers lost more steam after WWII. They tried vertical integration from cooperage to barrooms; they tried mergers and acquisitions. Drinkers wanted their beer not too malty, but along with its color, the quality of corporate brew faded. Homebrews, watery lites and microbrews entered the market. Ogle gives flavor to her heady portrait of the American brewing craft with vivid descriptions of brew kettles, fermenting kegs, mashing tuns, malt kilns, cellars and more. The spigot flows with human-interest tales of the beer barons and their progeny: the Best, Busch and Blatz families, the Rupperts, Millers and Schaeffers, along with the Greisediecks, the Yuenglings and Uihleins (the last of the late, great Schlitz label). And she’s just as adept delineating the frothy stuff’s intricate business history.

A beer garden of a book that leaves no stein unturned.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2006

ISBN: 0-15-101012-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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