From the boss's weekly newsletter:

An exciting week at the normally calm offices of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, as hubbub ensued following the arrival on premise of the first few copies of the terrific new book by TWS senior editor Victorino Matus. There weren't enough to go around, so those who hadn't read the book in draft were fighting for copies to read, and those who'd read the manuscript were eager to revisit favorite parts. I reminded my colleagues that they could do something unusual for magazine staff used to getting free review copies of books: BUY THE BOOK! And so, after being shown how worked, they hurried off to place their orders for Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America.

As you should do. Now! Here.

The book is really a terrific read--a combination of fascinating business and marketing history, witty social observation, perceptive cultural commentary, and shoe-leather reporting. If you like vodka, you'll be fascinated and personally intrigued by Matus's account of the rise of the liquor you're drinking.

If you (like me) don't drink vodka much, you'll still be fascinated--though somewhat more inclined to see this as yet another case study in the decline of America. I mean, really, from whiskey and bourbon to plain vodka, or worse, various ghastly forms of flavored vodka? How is that not decline? No matter. Reading about decline can be fun and educational--viz. Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vic Matus is the Edward Gibbon of American booze. And Matus's book is shorter.

So, again, buy it here.

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