Rum by Ian Williams
A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776

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Ian Williams describes in captivating detail how Rum and the molasses that it was made from was to the 18th century what oil is today. Rum was used by the colonists to clear Native American tribes and to buy slaves. To make it, they regularly traded with the enemy French during the Seven Years' War, angering their British masters and setting themselves on the road to Revolution. The regular flow of rum was essential to keeping both armies in the field since soldiers relied on rum to keep up their fighting spirits. Even though the Puritans themselves were fond of rum in quantities that would appall modern day doctors, temperance and Prohibition have obscured the historical role of the "Global Spirit with its warm heart in the Caribbean." Ian Williams' book triumphantly restores rum's rightful place in history, taking us across space and time, from its origins in the plantations of Barbados through Puritan and Revolutionary New England, to voodoo rites in modern Haiti, where to mix rum with Coke risks invoking the wrath of the god, and across the Florida straits where Fidel and the Bacardi family are still fighting over the rights for the ingredients of Cuba Libre.

About Ian Williams

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Ian Williams completed his PhD in English at the University of Toronto and is currently a professor of American Literature at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. His book of poems, You Know Who You Are, was published by Wolsak and Wynn in 2010.
Published August 18, 2006 by Nation Books. 370 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Education & Reference, Cooking. Non-fiction

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In the Caribbean, especially Barbados, massive plantations grew the bulk of the cane that could be transformed into what the English for a time called “Barbados Waters.” The brutal work of sugar production required untold numbers of slaves, a vital component of 18th-century trading among Africa, ...

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