A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

How the global tea industry influenced the international economy and the rise of mass consumerism


Mar 5, 2019
6.13 x 9.25 in.
53 b/w illus. 7 tables. 3 maps.
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Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. For centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes—in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies—the effects of which are with us even today. A Thirst for Empire takes an in-depth historical look at how men and women—through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa—transformed global tastes and habits. An expansive and original global history of imperial tea, A Thirst for Empire demonstrates the ways that this powerful enterprise helped shape the contemporary world.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of a 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Award, U.S. National Winner in “Tea”
  • Winner of the 2018 PCCBS Book Prize, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies
  • Co-Winner of the 2018 ASFS Book Award, Association for the Study of Food and Society
  • Winner of the 2018 Jerry Bentley Prize in World History, American Historical Association