Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Review: “The Search for God and Guinness” A Biography of the Beer That Changed The World - by Stephen Mansfield

FCC (Big Brother) Disclaimer: In accordance with new FCC rules regarding bloggers receiving payment or other compensation for reviews, I need to let it be known that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for a review (favorable or not) on my blog.

Now that that's out of the way, here is my review....

Stephen Mansfield  is a best selling author and speaker who deals mainly with issues regarding religion and American culture.  In "The Search For God and Guinness"   Mansfield takes us through several generations of Guinnesses to explain how faith, morals, and sometimes some good luck enabled the Guinness brewery to become one of the most respected, charitable, and successful companies the world has ever seen.

I have visited the Guinness brewery in Dublin twice over the last couple years, and Guinness has always been one of my favorite beers.  And I love history.   These are two reasons I was first interested in the book.  Though as Mansflield details in the book, he did not come at the writing from the perspective of a beer drinker or aficionado.  In fact he talks about how he actually didn't particularly enjoy beer very much growing up.  His interest in writing the book rather was to look at how faith played a role in shaping the values of the man who founded Guinness and subsequently the descendants who would run the brewery in future generations.  He also chronicles how beer has played such an important role in historical and religious occasions since the dawn of civilization as well as the beginning of Christianity itself. (I never knew that St. Patrick had his own personal brewer that travelled with him as he sought converts in Ireland!)

There are many themes of interest throughout this book that intrigued me aside from the historical:  That you serve God by mastering a skill and using that skill to serve and help others.  The idea of studying a sort of moral philosophy to learn about past history to help acquire skills needed for today.  The theme of passing of skills from father to son  is important to help each generation build upon the last. From my own personal standpoint, this helps comfort me in the sense that though my father and grandfather have passed, the things they taught me are still being put to use today.  And so they are still with me .  There are many other lessons in the book that I think will appeal to different readers for different reasons.  Whether you come to this book from a theoligical, historical, or business interest.  Or whether you are just interested in beer, there is something in this book that will captivate you.


ErikaC said...

Nice review! And very timely for those of us seeking Christmas gift ideas for our own home brewers and beer afficionados.

Glass Bottles said...

I haven't heard of this book before today, but after reading your review I am going to order a copy. Sounds like a great read.

Karlis said...

Glass Bottles: Appreciate the feedback - hope you like the book!