Craze by Jessica Warner
Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason

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In 1720, a new drink emerged as the overwhelming drug of choice among London's working poor; it was both affordable and many times stronger than traditional spirits. The beverage was gin, and the craze it initiated would become the 18th-century's equivalent of our crack cocaine epidemic. Craze is the first popular illustrated history to focus exclusively on the gin craze. Warner looks at the impact of "mother gin" from personal, political, and sexual perspectives. She draws on hundreds of primary sources, from Defoe to Dr. Johnson, guiding us through squalid back rooms, streets thronged with hawkers, raging mobs, and the halls of Parliament. The result is a timely, irreverent, utterly engrossing look at a city and a drug — and a drug scare — that helped shape our contemporary views of pleasure, consumption, and public morality.

About Jessica Warner

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Jessica Warner is a research scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and teaches in the graduate faculty of the department of history at the University of Toronto. She is the author of the critically acclaimed "Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason.
Published September 18, 2002 by Basic Books. 264 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason by Jessica Warner 288pp, Profile, £15 Gin was more than just a tonic in the early 18th century;

Mar 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Craze: Gin and Debauchery in ...

Publishers Weekly

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(Hogarth's famous print Gin Lane imagined a nightmarish world destroyed by a seemingly demonic drink.) Warner, a University of Toronto professor, gives us the whole story of gin: where it came from (Holland), who drank it (a large percentage were women), how it was perceived among elites (as a t...

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Project MUSE

The rapid spread of gin consumption, from its mid-seventeenth century invention to the squalor depicted in the Hogarth engraving "Gin Lane" a hundred years later, continues to challenge the historian's understanding of popular culture and the policy maker's views on drug policies and social control.

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