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Graham Hutchins

Publisher:Hachette New Zealand Ltd

An account of New Zealand's constant, sometimes troubled, always fascinating and often humorous encounters with alcohol, from the early days of European contact to the present day. While the book will have a skeletal chronological framework to set the scene it will be far less a “dry” social history than an entertaining account of an often much-maligned subject. Anecdotes relating to Kiwis and their encounters with alcohol over the years will pepper the book. Some of our most amusing tales have been either associated directly with grog or have been fired by alcohol. Contentious issues like the Temperance Movement, the threat of Prohibition and the 'Six O'clock Swill' will be discussed, along with some of the more amusing aspects of issues that were deadly serious to some. The impact of alcohol on New Zealand literature, folklore and songs and poems will represent some of the themes to be covered. Characters associated with the drinking culture - good and bad - will feature prominently. Sly Groggers, hooch makers, main trunk drunks, modern supermarket winos and many others will have their stories told, as will beer barons, colourful barmen and women and modern winemakers.Obviously the book will discuss the downside as well but it will not set out to preach. Such an account will lend itself to lively illustrations, photos and sketches, many of which are available from the Alexander Turnbull Library, private collections and other sources. The market-readership would include readers of New Zealand non-fiction, those with an interest in Kiwi social history and because of the book's 'forbidden fruit' and 'strange fascination' aspects, not to mention humorous asides, perhaps readers who wouldn't normally buy non-fiction titles. Because it will be an integrated account of alcohol in general (there have been books on wine, beer and whisky), its appeal would probably widen.

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