Grog: A Bottled History of Australia's First 30 Years by Tom Gilling
The marines on the First Fleet refused to sail without it. Convicts risked their necks to get hold of it. Rum built a hospital and sparked a revolution, made fortunes and ruined lives.
In a society with few luxuries, liquor was power. It played a crucial role, not just in the lives of individuals like James Squire - the London chicken thief who became Australia's first brewer - but in the transformation of a starving penal outpost into a prosperous trading port.
Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, Grog offers an intoxicating look at the first decades of European settlement and explores the origins of Australia's fraught love affair with the hard stuff.