Saturday, November 19, 2005

Book Review - The World of Caffeine

The World of Caffeine:
The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug

by Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer

It would be nearly impossible to write a book about caffeine that doesn't deal with the three beverages/foodstuffs in which we most frequently ingest it. Those substances, of course, are c*****, tea and chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that the authors of The World of Caffeine have written a work that might just as easily have been called The World of C*****, Tea and Chocolate.

Weinberg and Bealer have essentially divided the book into two sections. The first deals rather exhaustively - and sometimes to the point of being exhausting - with the history of this holy triumvirate of caffeine bearing plants and their influence on human affairs. Part two takes a closer look at caffeine itself, including it's chemical makeup and its effects on human physiology.

Unlike a number of other books about caffeine this one pretty much takes the position that, when used sensibly, caffeine is a relatively benign and even useful substance. Chocolate, not surprisingly, gets the least amount of attention and it's c***** that seems to garner the greater focus, in spite of the fact that tea is said to be the most popular beverage in the world, after water.

Very informative, though a little dry in places. Recommended.

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