Moonshine: A Global History
Hardback | Jul 2017 | REAKTION BOOKS | 9781780237428 | 176pp | 197x120mm | GEN | AUD$24.99, NZD$29.99
No matter where you go on earth, there is moonshine. An eternal changeling, moonshine has been made from just about every imaginable foodstuff: grapes, grains, raw sugar, tree bark, horse milk, and more. First-world college students drink it; so do day labourers in the world’s poorest slums and villages. Despite its diversity, all moonshine has two characteristics: it is highly alcoholic, and it is illegal. Indeed, the more that governments crack down on illicit distilling, the more moonshine gets made and drunk, which, as spirits expert Kevin R. Kosar relates, helps explain its universal allure. 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; and from pontificating poets, sneaky swamp-rats and mountain-dwellers, to adolescents looking for a thrill. Moonshine is a story of human ingenuity; individuals have invented remarkable contraptions for making moonshine and often under incredibly difficult circumstances. But all that shines is not fine: much of the moonshine that is trafficked is toxic – blindness and death are constant dangers for the moonshine drinker. Spanning the centuries and the globe, the richly illustrated and entertainingly written Moonshine will appeal to food and drink lovers, as well as anyone who enjoys tales of mischief and misbehaviour.