Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review - The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

I didn't know. Seriously. I bought a sweatshirt at a harp festival. It was oversized and warm and had harps on it. I tried to find out what a Guinness harp was. No luck.

I wore the shirt everywhere. My daughter asked me why I was advertising beer.

And then I heard of this book--The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield.

God and beer? And harps? Of course, I had to read it, even though I don't much care for beer.

In the mid-1700s Arthur Guinness "walked the streets of Dublin pleading with God to do something about the drunkenness on the streets of Ireland."

He believed he heard God speak, "Make a drink that men will drink that will be good for them."

This is a deeply researched book and far from a fast read, but I learned much--such as the history of beer in general and Guinness stout in particular. I learned about health aspects of beer and that "beer, well respected and rightly consumed, can be a gift of God." The book transported me back into Irish history, including into the middle of the potato famine devastation.

I learned how a company reached out to the working poor, the sick, the helpless, and the hopeless. Employee benefits during the 1920s were unparalleled. Companies of today should take note.

I also discovered a family of deep faith and strong bonds, a family who came together in good times and in bad. I learned that Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and the Wesleys had what some might consider surprising attitudes toward alcohol. And I learned that Henry Grattan Guinness, Arthur's grandson, has been called the Billy Graham of the nineteenth century. And that Hudson Taylor was also a "part of the Guinness story."

If you love beer, Ireland, history, the poor, the sick, you'll love this book. If you love God, you'll love this book. And if you don't, you might after you read it.

And now I'm content that when I wear my sweatshirt, I'm not just advertising beer. I'm also advertising God.

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King 

NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. We in America have a tendency to forget that beer and wine consumption isn't a sin in other nations. Germany, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain--pick it--have beer or wine on a regular basis, and I'm not going to be the one to say that the Christians in these nations are sinning when they do.

    Thanks for the post. Just your write-up was informative. I'd love to read the book!

  2. Mansfield talks about U.S. prohibition, too, as a result of the negative effects of alcohol in general. Apparently, Michigan was the 5th state to ban alcohol sales in 1854. Interesting that the Pilgrims built a brewery right off the bat as one of their first permanent structures.

    Love of anything is bad if it overtakes love of God.

  3. Sounds great! Thanks for the review! I don't like beer a whole lot, but my husband does! And I love Ireland. :)

  4. I'm still amazed at how much stuff is in this book!

  5. This sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Great review. I am going to have to get this book.

  7. @Karen: Thanks for reading it. ;)

    @Friar Tuck: Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy the book!