View Full Version : The Evolution of Bourbon, Take 2

07-20-2001, 15:41
Sam Cecil has just released a second printing of his book The Evolution of the Bourbon Industry in Kentucky. I have just written a review of the book for Filson Historical Quarterly and gave it a mixed review. The book is improved with an index and better quality illustrations, but it still has the same text. This means that it is still too dependent on the Coyte collection at U of L. For those of you who have not heard me talk of this before, Coyte was a man who was collecting information for a book on Kentucky Distilleries when he died. The University of Louisville archive received his papers after his death. Sam uses these paper extensively without checking into their accuracy. This means there are a lot of mistakes in the history. I only pointed out two in my reveiw but have seen others. I end my reveiw by stating that it is a worthy book as a beginning place for research, but not an end all authority. It deserves a place on the shelves of any distilling historian, but that historian needs to be aware of its faults.

Mike Veach

07-21-2001, 04:28
Thanks for the heads up Mike. I count on both you and Chuck point out the inaccuracies of various texts. Without y'all's intimate knowledge of bourbon history I'd never be able to pick up on all of the errors.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

07-22-2001, 11:18
very diplomatic and wise of you -- but you are a nice guy... and a good researcher from what I can see.


07-22-2001, 16:32
I guess I'm impressed that it went into a second printing, although there is no way of knowing how many he printed the first time. The book appears to be self-published. At least, that appears to be the business of his publisher. All that means is that there probably wasn't much oversight. Sam was free to publish whatever he wanted since he was paying for it. Sometimes too much freedom is a bad thing.

Many of the mistakes are internal, i.e., something on one page contradicts something on another page, which is very frustrating for me as a reader.

I tend to consider Sam most reliable when he is writing about his own era and people who were his colleagues, as opposed to the 19th century stuff that probably came from Coyte.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>