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Oceans of Wine: Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade and Taste (Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-century Culture & History) (The Lewis ... in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History) Hardcover – 8 Sep 2009


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Review

'David Hancock's celebration of the production, distribution, and consumption of Madeira wine is a tour de force, opening up important new perspectives on life in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.' -Richard S. Dunn, University of Pennsylvania --Richard S. Dunn

About the Author

David Hancock is an associate professor of history, University of Michigan. He is the author of 'Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735-1785', 'The Letters of William Freeman, 1678-1685', and 'History of World Trade since 1450'.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95d505c4) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95d50c9c) out of 5 stars Very cool book! 20 Oct. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hancock's Oceans of Wine is such a great book: why hasn't anyone else thought to write a really well-researched, but also well-written book on a wine? Too many of the well researched books are stodgy, at best, and the well-written ones pretty thin.

Hancock traces the rise of Madeira wine in the 18th century from its development in the island of Madeira -- where producers continually tried new techniques to improve its appeal to customers -- through several distribution layers to the final drinkers in British America -- where people used it to show their status and refinement.

If you really want to know how international business was conducted before the 19th century, this book and Hancock's first book Citizens of the World are by far the most thorough and detailed. And readable, too.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x954416f0) out of 5 stars Comprehensive! Worth the read. 28 Nov. 2011
By Larry Bernard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book OCEANS OF WINE, along with Alex Liddell's MADEIRA, were invaluable in preparing for a Madeira tasting. The former provides a rich history of understanding how a quite crude local table wine from a lonely Atlantic island during the mid-15th century evolved into a rich, fortified, sweet beverage of the young US nation's elite class - worthy of being the toasting beverage at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's inauguration. No significant aspect of Madeira viniculture and viticulture development and refinement over the 3 ½ centuries from 1450 to 1815 are left out. The bonus is Mr. Hancock's research into previously unexamined merchant documents and forgotten archives on both sides of the Atlantic. The work reveals what role(s) Madeira played in the triangular Atlantic trade. Madeira's niche in development of the triangular Atlantic trading enterprises and the role America's Colonial settlers, merchants, traders, and even (franchise) retailers in developing expanding commercial markets is thoroughly examined.

Whether your locus is Madeira the wine - and what part 18th & 19th century US tastes influenced long term Maderia styles - or what part Madeira the wine played in early American commercial endeavors, this exhaustive volume will satisfy your curiosities. Cerebral at times, but worth the work!
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x954415f4) out of 5 stars In desperate need of a good editor 21 Dec. 2011
By Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This examination of the Madeira trade is unneccessarily wordy, loosely organized, and is plagued with long awkward sentence construction. I found myself frequently stopping to re-read sentences, and when finally parsing them, realizing that the idea buried in the sentence was actually quite simple, and could have been conveyed in a more direct way. The notes are extensive, but more often than not filled with rambly tangents. I encountered a few half page notes which included no source support for the actual statement made in the text. I would expect Yale University Press to employ more able editors than they did in this case. Writing matters. Please respect your reader.
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