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I Drink Therefore I am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine [Hardcover]

Roger Scruton
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Sep 2009
The ancients had a solution to the alcohol problem, which was to wrap the drink in religious rituals, to treat it as the incarnation of a god, and to marginalize disruptive behaviour as the god's doing, not the worshipper's. Gradually, under the discipline of ritual, prayer and theology, wine was tamed from its orgiastic origins to become a solemn libation to the Olympians and then the Christian Eucharist - that brief encounter with salvation which has reconciliation as its goal. We are familiar with the medical opinion that a daily glass of wine is good for the health and also the rival opinion that any more than a glass or two will set us on the road to ruin. Whether or not good for the body, Scrtuton argues, wine, drunk in the right frame of mind, is definitely good for the soul. And there is no better accompaniment to wine than philosophy. By thinking with wine, you can learn not only to drink in thoughts but to think in draughts. This good-humoured book offers an antidote to the pretentious clap-trap that is written about wine today and a profound apology for the drink on which civilisation has been founded. In vino veritas.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; 1st Edition edition (25 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847065082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847065087
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.

Product Description


He is by turns interesting, fatuous, informative, cranky, outrageous, rhetorically self-indulgent, and insightful...For general readers, and especially Monty Python fans, this book is great fun. Summing Up: Recommended.--,

About the Author

Professor Roger Scruton is currently visiting Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and Research Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington, D.C. His other books include The West and the Rest, England: An Elegy, News from Somewhere and Gentle Regrets (all published by Continuum).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
In this book Scruton seeks to combine his interest in philosophy with his love of wine. He laments the passing of the Greek "symposiums" where wine was drunk and important issues discussed. The book is certainly interesting, but it is not the jolly, "good humoured antidote to the pretentious clap-trap" that the publishers promise. At least not until the appendix where he suggests what to drink while reading major philosophers' works which is very funny and well written.

He begins by recognising two people influential in his own discovery of wine, which read a little like appreciative retirement speeches. He then moves on to discussing in detail French wines and then more briefly other wine regions. Here Scruton's knowledge and enthusiasm are evident, but he is something of a wine `buff' and there is plenty of wine-speak in evidence. Thus he suggests that `the best accompaniment to a bottle of fine old white Hermitage is a clay-baked hedgehog' and if you `roll the name Maillol in your mouth while imagining well-shaped buttocks and well-matured wine, and you won't be far from the taste of Collioure'. Not much of the promise of `an antidote to clap-trap' evident here, then. Overall, this half of the book is hard going.

In the second half, things get more interesting as he turns to philosophy and the role of wine and the implications of certain ideas to wine. Scruton is one of those writers who lets much of their character and opinion infuse his writing.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all lovers of wine 7 April 2010
The witty title of this book gives expectations that are not disappointed. When you have one of Britain's leading philosophers, who is also fluent and witty, writing about his love of wine then the book is one for all lovers of wine. It is not a handbook - so there is not too much about vintages and certainly it is not a catalogue. Scruton tells something of his own encounters with various wines, at Peterhouse, Cambridge, that home of the egregious don, and in different parts of the world. So some interesting people are also mentioned. But the focus is always on the wine and its delights. He gives useful dicta such as "Never drink any fluid that has been kept in plastic." In an amusing final section, Scruton makes suggestions about which wines to drink while reading various philosophers. I have picked up much fascinating knowledge about wine, the sort of things that the ordinary wine book do not mention. I have a reasonable library of books on wine and on philosphy and this book has pride of place in both. Already, have I boughto a second copy since the first one I gave away to another wine-lover as a present.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad idea 24 Jun 2010
I thought this might be rather silly but actually it is quite engaging and a good read. Lots of different ideas and bits of history that are fascinating and its true the stuff about what to drink is spot on. I give it three glasses (large ones).
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