Earlier this year I was contacted by Harper-Collins and asked if I would like to read a new book about Bourbon. Of course I'm interested is my response so within a few days I receive Dane Huckelbridge's A History of the American Spirit - Bourbon. Unfortunately my work schedule was quite full which pulled me away from reading as well as this blog which you can attest to by the lack of posts over the summer.
I managed to squeeze in times that I read a chapter or partial chapter but I did finally manage to finish the book. There are a number of books I've read over the last couple of years that includes Whiskey - An American Pictorial History by Oscar Getz; But Always Fine Bourbon by Sally Van Winkle Campbell; and Bourbon Straight by Charles Cowdery. Each of these books is well written for the most part and provides a nice history and facts about America's beloved spirit and those that make it.
Dane's book was packed full of facts that for the average reader may seem meaningless but for the enthusiast, it was whiskey catnip. I quickly determined as I read the first couple of chapters that Dane spent a good amount of time researching this topic. His ability to weave in American history into the history of American distilling was at times fascinating. The book at times read almost like fiction taking historical facts and not only bringing them to life but written in a way that makes you want to turn the page to find out what happens next (which was very difficult for me since time devoted to reading was so haphazard).
As an example, Chapter 2 "A Tale of Two Georges" piqued my interest early on as the story of Boston's Molasses disaster describes how 2.3 million gallons of sweet, sticky Molasses swept the streets of Boston. How did I not know this? What a fascinating story of a virtually unknown fact in America's distilling history.
In recent weeks as I sat and read the final portion of this witty and entertaining book, it was not uncommon to pair up with a bourbon or rye to make the read that much more enjoyable. If you love American's whiskey and its history, I highly recommend Dane's book, A History of the American Spirit - Bourbon, it's a spirited read (pun intended).