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“Bauer serves up history just the way I like it—straight and with a strong punch. Gentlemen Bootleggers is insightful, well-written, and highly entertaining.” —Jonathan Eig, author of Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster"Bauer’s work is well documented and thoroughly detailed, leaving no doubt that these events really and truly happened (there are some skeptics who deny bootlegging even occurred in Iowa). But one of the best parts of Gentlemen Bootleggers is the level of engagement with which Bauer tells the story. His writing feels effortless; more like a really enjoyable conversation over several drams on a late winter’s afternoon, rather than a starchy, overly annotated tome gathering dust on a library stack. Like Fred Minnick’s Whisky Women in 2013, Gentlemen Bootleggers is a solid debut and hopefully not the last we’ve seen of Bauer on the subject of spirits." —Drinkhacker.com "The book is well researched and filled with amazing detail gleaned from a myriad of sources. [...] This work is a highly interesting detailed study of one town's response to Prohibition. Highly recommended." —California Grapevine
“The story of the legendary ‘Templeton rye’ and the midwestern bootlegging empire that created this liquor is a fascinating slice of American history. Bauer has written a vivid and comprehensive tale, full of characters, action, anecdotes, facts, and cultural observations, that provides a compelling look at this peculiar period. Gentleman Bootleggers is a necessary addition to existing scholarship and a must-have for any scholar or fan of the Prohibition era, bootlegging, and the distillation of illegal spirits.” —Matt Bondurant, author of The Wettest County in the World
"A quiet revolt against Prohibition happened in Templeton, Iowa, where the famous Templeton rye whiskey was made illegally and prized by its consumers. This is a book full of interesting characters, especially Iowa’s bootlegging king Joe Irlbeck, his confederates in town and the lawmen who tried to catch up with the lot of them." —Omaha World-Herald
"Mr. Bauer carefully pulls us along as the moonshining business in Templeton expands and the lawmen attempt to bring it down. His book is full of the little gems that come only from spending serious time in the back rooms of good libraries." —The Wall Street Journal
"Bauer turns phrases easily [...]. Readers will be entertained." —Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating, well-researched glimpse into a much-storied period in U.S. history." —Library Journal
“Save for repeal, few good things came of the Eighteenth Amendment. But Templeton rye was one of them. Rethink the Prohibition era in a Grant Wood landscape with the Good Soldier Schweik as Public Enemy Number One, add a few episodes of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and you’ve got a pretty good sense of Bauer’s story. A nifty bit of local history, it can be read with both gain and pleasure anywhere that whiskey is enjoyed and civil disobedience respected.” —David Schoenbaum, author of The Violin: A Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument
“A well-researched, engaging look at an Iowa bootlegging operation and how the bonds and intimacy of small-town life kept it alive.” —Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
“Pesky revenuers be damned, Gentleman Bootleggers uncovers how small-town Iowa worked together to make and sell rye whiskey. This book will make you crave untaxed liquor . . . the illegal stuff.” —Fred Minnick, author of Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey
“Gentlemen Bootleggers presents an intriguing and accurate account of Templeton rye production during Prohibition and reveals how this illegal activity saved many farmers in the area from foreclosure. Bauer, as a meticulous researcher, does an excellent job of weaving local history with state and national events.” —Arthur Neu, former lieutenant governor of Iowa
Bryce T. Bauer is a Hearst Award– winning journalist who has written for Saveur, the Daily Iowan, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and other publications. He is coproducing and cowriting the documentary Whiskey Cookers: The Amazing Story of the Bootleggers of Templeton, Iowa.
This was a tremendous read. I am originally from Iowa and so that had an appeal. But once I started, I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Donald Goergen
I grew up and went to school in Templeton, My parents were farmers and they lived their until their deaths.