Ogle, Maureen 1953-

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Ogle, Maureen 1953-


Born 1953; married; children: two stepdaughters. Education: University of Iowa, B.L.S.; Iowa State University, Ph.D., 1992. Hobbies and other interests: Cooking, walking, swimming, reading.


Home—IA. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer and historian. University of South Alabama, Mobile, professor of history, 1993-99. Has also worked as a cab driver, nanny, motel maid, construction worker, and waitress.


All the Modern Conveniences: American Household Plumbing, 1840-1890, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

Key West: History of an Island of Dreams, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2003.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.


Author and historian Maureen Ogle has published a number of critically acclaimed nonfiction works, including All the Modern Conveniences: American Household Plumbing, 1840-1890, and Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer. Aimed at a scholarly audience, All the Modern Conveniences began as Ogle's doctoral dissertation. Using a variety of primary and secondary sources, including patent records, trade catalogues, and architectural drawings, Ogle explores the history of the nation's domestic water supply and waste disposal systems. According to Howard Rose, writing in the Journal of American History, "Ogle tells the story of the development of the modern toilet in technical terms as well as relating it to a much broader set of historical and cultural issues." Nancy Tomes in the Winterthur Portfolio offered a similar assessment of the author's work, noting: "The balance of concrete detail and historical interpretation is deftly done; while providing a wealth of useful information about the workings of household plumbing, she successfully avoids a strictly antiquarian or technological approach to her subject." All the Modern Conveniences, concluded Jacqueline Wilkie in the Journal of Social History, "serves as a model case study in the link between private and public life in the evolution of industrial society."

In Ambitious Brew, Ogle examines the business history of the American beer industry, from the German immigrants who built vast brewing empires in the nineteenth century to the microbrewers who revolutionized the industry in the late twentieth century. According to a critic in Kirkus Reviews, "Ogle gives flavor to her heady portrait of the American brewing craft with vivid descriptions of brew kettles, fermenting kegs, mashing tuns, malt kilns, cellars and more." The author also challenges the popular belief that corporate breweries, driven largely by profit, have flooded the market with an inferior product, instead finding that companies began brewing lighter beers in response to their customer's changing tastes. As William Grimes stated in his New York Times review: "The finger of blame for Miller Lite should be pointed right at the mirror, Ms. Ogle argues. Americans asked for it, and they got it." In an interview on the Harcourt Books Web site, Ogle stated: "I think this myth was (and is!) so widely accepted in large part because no one had ever challenged it."

"On a … personal level, I'm … intrigued by people who are not afraid to think big, to envision grand schemes and plans, and act on them," Ogle stated in her Harcourt interview. "I'm not sure where that comes from, except that I've had a fair amount of adversity in my own life and I've worked hard to make something positive and productive out of a life that probably should have turned out otherwise. So maybe I'm looking for stories about people I can relate to as role models."



Booklist, June 1, 2003, Randall Enos, review of Key West: History of an Island of Dreams, p. 1732.

California Bookwatch, December, 2006, review of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.

Journal of American History, March, 1999, Howard Rose, review of All the Modern Conveniences: American Household Plumbing, 1840-1890, pp. 1613-1614.

Journal of Social History, spring, 1998, Jacqueline Wilkie, review of All the Modern Conveniences, p. 714.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2006, review of Ambitious Brew, p. 715.

New England Quarterly, September, 1997, Harvey Green, review of All the Modern Conveniences, pp. 488-490.

New York Times, October 27, 2006, William Grimes, "When the Beer Was Bitter, and Its Future Cloudy," review of Ambitious Brew.

Philadelphia Daily News, October 20, 2006, Joe Sixpack, "History of American Brewing Has Gusto & a Few Flat Spots," review of Ambitious Brew.

Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2006, review of Ambitious Brew, p. 50.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2006, review of Ambitious Brew.

Winterthur Portfolio, summer-autumn, 1997, Nancy Tomes, review of All the Modern Conveniences, pp. 214-216.


About.com,http://beer.about.com/ (February 25, 2007), Bryce Eddings, "Upsetting Conventional Wisdom: Interview with Maureen Ogle, Author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer."

Ambitious Brew Web site,http://www.ambitiousbrew.com (February 25, 2007).

Beer Basics Web site,http://www.beerbasics.com/ogle.htm/ (February 25, 2007), Peter LaFrance, "Interview with Maureen Ogle."

Beer Festivals Web site,http://www.beerfestivals.org/reviews/beer_books.html/ (February 25, 2007), "History in the Making," review of Ambitious Brew."

Harcourt Books Web site,http://www.harcourtbooks.com/AmbitiousBrew/interview.asp/ (February 25, 2007), "Interview with Maureen Ogle, Author of Ambitious Brew."

Maureen Ogle Home Page,http://www.maureenogle.com (February 25, 2007).