“It is testimony to the importance of beer in their story that the brewery was the first permanent building the Pilgrims constructed.”
Looking at history through the role beer played reveals how important it was to many countries, including America. Beer was often the safe drink since it was boiled and water was easily contaminated. Beer was brought on ships that came to explore the New World. One of the longest brewed beers – Guinness – holds a very special role in the history of Ireland and the Guinness family impacted the world, not just with their beer, but also with the legacy established through helping others. The Search for God and Guinness explores the Guinness history and impact.
I added The Search for God and Guinness to my to-read list when I saw it advertised around St. Patrick’s Day. I requested it from the library last month after seeing a friend had recently read the book. It was available as an e-book through Libby in just a week or two. It doesn’t take long to read and is just broken down into six chapters that cover different aspects of the Guinness company and family history.
Stephen Mansfield sets up the book by first showing the role beer played in the 1600s and 1700s. I learned a lot in the beginning chapter, including that the early settlements in America put in a brewery very early on to create a safe drink for the settlers. The author then reveals what is documented about Arthur Guinness (the founder) and what is fable. (One fable is that Arthur Guinness prayed that God would show him a way to keep men from getting drunk on liquor and God gave him the idea of making a drink that was good for them.) As the company expands, so does the impact Guinness makes in the community. Guinness offered its workers access to doctors, classes, a library and a pension (even for widows). During World War I, those who served in the military were guaranteed their jobs back and their families were given half their salary while they were gone. They also built housing that still stands to this day. Many members of the family also went into ministry and were supported by the Guinness company funds. While many Guinness family members were Protestant, they fought for equal rights for Catholics in Ireland.
I found The Search for God and Guinness to be very interesting and I learned some neat things about history that I didn’t know before I picked up this book. I would recommend it to history lovers, craft and home brewers and Guinness fans. It would make a great gift for anyone in those categories, too.