Friday, December 02, 2016

Booknote: The Birth of Bourbon

Carol Peachee, The Birth of Bourbon: a Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-8131-6554-7.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: photography, Kentuckiana, bourbon whiskey, distilleries
Format: hardback coffee table book
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

Carol Peachee went out to seek the remains of old whisky distilleries in Kentucky. She then photographed them. The result is a beautiful, at times a bit somber compilation of photographs that raise the format to an art. For some, this is preserving history and getting a glimpse into the past. We see the ruins and remains, and we can imagine what working on one of these distilleries and producing bourbon may have been like. For a brief moment we can travel back in time thanks to the author's photos.

The organization of the book is very simple. Jim Gray provides a short introduction. Then we get the photos. These are full color photos of various sizes showing various parts of buildings and machinery of the old distilleries. The conditions of these old distilleries varies; some are in a bit better condition than others. Some are about to be demolished, and she got there right on time to catch that one last glimpse of the past. A strength in the work is the author's ability to often catch small details that can be very revealing. Each photography is fully captioned so you know where it is and what you are looking at.

Fans of Kentucky bourbon and its history will likely enjoy the book. This is also a good book for photography enthusiasts whether they like bourbon or not. The author has truly created a good tribute to an important slice of Kentucky history. Libraries collecting Kentuckiana should get this book.

4 out of 5 stars.

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This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

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