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Taverns and drinking in early America /
Sharon V. Salinger.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
xi, 309 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
0801868785 (hc : alk. paper)
More Details
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
0801868785 (hc : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sharon V. Salinger is chair of the Department of History at the University of California, Riverside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-02-01:
Salinger (Univ. of California, Riverside) shifts the spotlight from the usual focus on 19th-century US saloons to those in the Colonial period. Employing an admirably sustained comparative approach throughout, she in turn surveys Dutch and English origins, English social customs and law and its legacy, changing ministerial views of inebriation, 17th- and 18th-century tavern life and laws, and Colonial statutes on prohibition, court records, and punishments for excessive drinking. Salinger also explores distinctions between rural and town taverns and the class character of patrons, elite and plebian, in each venue. She does not neglect regional variations, such as those between sectarian and nonsectarian Colonies and between North-South views of drink as manifested in laws, prosecutions, and punishments. Salinger looks at Indian and interracial drinking and the function of taverns as sites of male sociability and places where gambling, cockfighting, and card playing were common. One would have liked greater attention given to taverns as intrinsic to plebian and popular culture and their importance to a daily-lived process. But even with this limitation, Salinger renders a fuller understanding of quotidian existence than we have had before in this conscientious, meticulously researched, and balanced monograph offering both record and interpretation. Graduate students and faculty. M. Cantor University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Review Quotes
"A richly detailed study that helps us understand popular and genteel culture in early America, the place of drink in everyday life, and the relationship between law and perceptions of disorderly behavior."--Paul G. E. Clemens, Journal of American History
"A thorough overview of this often overlooked institution in early America." -- George Brown, North Carolina Historical Review
"Salinger gives us the best description yet available of the nature of tavern life and the efforts of colonial governments to manage it."--Elaine Frantz Parsons, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
"Salinger's book offers the broadest study yet of the role of taverns in colonial life, and readers will find a good deal of useful information presented in clear and accessible prose."--Matthew Mulcahy, South Carolina Historical Magazine
"Taverns and Drinking in Early America pulls together the results of many other works focused more narrowly on particular colonies or regions and provides a much greater synthesis than we have ever enjoyed before... A well-written, very entertaining overview of an important subject." -- Daniel B. Thorp, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
"The most comprehensive survey to date of this curiously underinvestigated aspect of early American social life... [Contains] a wealth of illustrative and amusing anecdotes... Well researched and informative."--Simon Middleton, William and Mary Quarterly
"This important book offers the first recent attempt at a comparative synthesis combined with a general interpretation of tavern life."--Richard P. Gildrie, Journal of Southern History
"Full of information and bristling with insights, this fine book on the many functions of alcohol and taverns in early America deserves a place on the bookshelf of every American historian. Working from a variety of sources, Salinger sweeps across all the mainland British colonies and shows the centrality of taverns in the conduct of colonial life."--Gary B. Nash, UCLA
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
American colonists knew just two types of public building: churches and taverns. At a time when drinking water was considered dangerous, everyone drank often and in quantity. The author explores the role of drinking and tavern sociability.
Main Description
Sharon V. Salinger's Taverns and Drinking in Early America supplies the first study of public houses and drinking throughout the mainland British colonies. At a time when drinking water supposedly endangered one's health, colonists of every rank, age, race, and gender drank often and in quantity, and so taverns became arenas for political debate, business transactions, and small-town gossip sessions. Salinger explores the similarities and differences in the roles of drinking and tavern sociability in small towns, cities, and the countryside; in Anglican, Quaker, and Puritan communities; and in four geographic regions. Challenging the prevailing view that taverns tended to break down class and gender differences, Salinger persuasively argues they did not signal social change so much as buttress custom and encourage exclusion.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Dutch and English Origins: For the "receiving and refreshment of travaillers and strangers"p. 8
Inside the Tavern: "Knots of Men Rightly Sorted"p. 48
Preventing Drunkenness and Keeping Good Order in the Seventeenth Century: "A Herd of Planters on the ground/O'er-whelmed with Punch, dead drunk we found"p. 83
Eighteenth-Century Legislation and Prosecution: "Lest a Flood of Rum do Overwhelm all good Order among us"p. 121
Licensing Criteria and Law in the Eighteenth Century: "Sobriety, honesty and discretion in the... masters of such houses"p. 151
Too Many Taverns?: "Little better than Nurseries of Vice and Debauchery"p. 182
The Tavern Degenerate: "Rendezvous of the very Dreggs of the People"p. 210
Conclusionp. 241
Notesp. 247
Indexp. 305
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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