Thistle Publishing

Gin: The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva - The Eighteenth Century Gin Craze


During the early eighteenth century, gin-drinking reached epidemic proportions in the slums of London. The spirit was sold from shops and market stalls, from basements and barrows in the streets, until every Londoner was averaging two pints of gin a week.


Early eighteenth-century London was a violent and insecure town. Reformers blamed ‘Madam Geneva’ for everything from social decay to rising crime and passed eight major acts in an attempt to control it. When prohibition was attempted, it was greeted with popular riots and the explosion of a bomb in Westminster Hall. With arguments about gin drawing in writers such as Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding, the campaign for reform reached its climax with the unforgettable image of Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’.


This is the story of the rise and fall of ‘Madam Geneva’. Gin-drinkers and sellers, politicians and distillers all add their voices to Patrick Dillon’s vivid account of London’s first drug craze, and the ultimately successful attempts to control it.



Reviews:


‘Excellent.’ - Andrew Marr


‘Patrick Dillon has gathered together some marvellous tales here… This book is as crowded with sensational incident as an 18th-century newspaper… With its manic tempo, Dillon’s prose embodies the relentless energy of the time… the city’s infinite variety is also successfully invoked. He has, too, a gift for simplifying complex issues.’ - Daily Telegraph


‘A crisp, fast-paced account… Dillon paints a vivid picture of hard-drinking London, high on spirits and speculation… Dillon’s book offers a fascinating tale, ringing with authentic voices.’ - Sunday Times

Buy Patrick Dillon Mail: info@thistlepublishing.co.uk