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197 × 120 × 14 mm
144 pages
78 illustrations, 29 in colour
01 Apr 2017
  • £11.99

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Moonshine A Global History Kevin R. Kosar

No matter where you go on earth, there is moonshine. It has been made from just about every imaginable foodstuff: grapes, grain, raw sugar, tree bark, horse milk and more. College students in the developed world drink it; so do day labourers in the world’s poorest slums and villages. All moonshine has two characteristics: it is highly alcoholic, and it is illegal. Kevin R. Kosar tells the colourful history of moonshine with characters that range from crusading lawmen, earnest farmers and clever tinkerers, to vicious smugglers and ruthless gangsters; from pontificating poets and sneaky swamp-rats, to adolescents looking for a thrill.

‘For spirits aficionados, history buffs, cooks, and fans of great writing, Moonshine is a must buy. It should be on everyone’s Father’s Day gift list.’ — The Spectator

‘As Kevin Kosar documents in his excellent book, Moonshine: A Global History, governments from Ancient China to Ancient Mesopotamia have been defining which types of alcoholic drinks are legal, and therefore acceptable for people to drink, and which types of alcoholic drinks are illegal, and therefore unacceptable for people to drink . . . Kosar's book has much to offer to spirit enthusiasts. And, while I can't imagine enjoying spirits made from carrots or horse milk, Kosar's documentation of all sorts of exotic spirits is certainly interesting . . . an understanding of the history of moonshine has a great deal to teach modern political leaders.’ — Forbes Magazine

‘[a] vibrant and entertaining new study of the drink's 600-year history . . . Kosar, an authority on booze and a director of alcohol policy at the R Street Institute in Washington, DC, discusses this aspect of his subject with pace, learning, insight and good sense. He is convincing when he argues that "the more a government's policies reduce access to affordable, safe, licit alcoholic drinks, the more it encourages the production of cheap, dangerous, illicit booze". And he is arresting when he links the production of moonshine to moments of political resistance . . . But the book is at its most grimly arresting when Koshar describes the pernicious effects of the drink, and the extremes to which people will go to create and consume it.’ — Irish Times

‘a gem of a book covering an oft-joked about but little understood topic . . . The book covers the history of moonshine, the problems that arise with an illicit distilled spirit, the effect of cinema on the popularity and perception of the industry and even, in what most would consider an excellent bonus section, some moonshine cocktail recipes.’ — The Daily Caller, Washington DC

‘an informative study . . . As the author of this succinct little chronicle insists, “If nobody demanded it, it would not exist.”’ — The Weekly Standard

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Kevin R. Kosar is the founder of AlcoholReviews.com. His writings on alcoholic beverages have appeared in American.com, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2004) and the New York Press and New York Hangover newspapers. He lives in Washington, DC.

Introduction: Moonshine, Moonshine Everywhere

1 The Basics

2 Making Moonshine

3 Moonshine and Politics: Enmity from the Start

4 Moonshine Goes Pop (Twice)

5 Moonshine and Very Bads Things

6 Moonshine Goes Legit

Conclusion: Moonshine and Us


Recommended Brands of Licit Moonshine

Select Bibliography

Websites and Associations


Photo Acknowledgements