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Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King (OH) Paperback – September 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (September 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596299142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596299146
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Morgan is a reformed lawyer who has dedicated the past several years to the physical and cultural restoration of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine. In part, this includes working with the City of Cincinnati to improve its approach to historic preservation and to find creative solutions to urban redevelopment challenges. It also includes conducting events that help bring the neighborhood's history alive. Morgan is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, where he learned to write, and Ohio University, where he learned to drink. As a trustee of the Brewery District CURC, Morgan helped create the organization's Prohibition Resistance Tours of historic brewery sites. He has also been the primary organizer of Bockfest since 2006 and is an unabashed proponent of local beer.

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Customer Reviews

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If you're even somewhat curious you'll find this book wholly informative and riveting.
Unimaj
OTR is a great place to work, live, and drink so hopefully after you read this you can come down and enjoy a cold one!
Karl Kramer
My only complaint is that Mr. Morgan couldn't help himself and injected modern politics into the book.
ZSK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Garrett Peck on October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Over-the-Rhine was once the heart of a thriving German-American neighborhood in Cincinnati and home to two dozen breweries. It's also a dilapidated district and 19th century architectural time capsule that civic-minded Cincinnatians are trying to preserve while making it into a livable urban neighborhood. The rise and fall of OTR is the subject of Michael Morgan's dynamite short history, "Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King."

Based mostly on primary sources, Morgan tells the story of how German immigrants settled in this enclave north of the Miami and Erie Canal (the "Rhine") in the 1840s and 1850s. They brought a gift which we cherish still to this day: lager beer. Many brewers grew wealthy and built brewhouses that were Romanesque Revival palaces. OTR flourished with thousands of beer gardens, saloons, and entertainment venues.

However, there were nativist forces at work to undermine German society and its beer-soaked culture. Morgan writes, "Before gay marriage, abortion rights, civil rights or the Vietnam War, beer became the focal point of a much broader social debate." That was temperance, the social reform movement that gave us Prohibition.

Prohibition devastated Cincinnati's rich brewing tradition. A handful of breweries reopened after 1933, but the industry - and OTR - never recovered. The last brewery closed in the 1950s; the local brewers found they couldn't compete with the emerging national brands. There are today only two active breweries in OTR: the Schoenling Brewery, where the Boston Beer Company makes Sam Adams, and the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, which in 2010 took over the former Kauffman Brewery (a building that was, even more recently, the Husman Potato Chip Factory).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Myron on February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased six of these books as Christmas gifts for a few of my good beer drinking friends. What a surprise. I couldn't put it down. The insights Morgan offers on the cultural history of Cincinnati were eye opening. He mixes accurate history (one of my gifted friends is a history professor and has confirmed this) wit, and information with an easily readable style. It's much more than a "beer" book. As a life long resident of Cincinnati, I am a bit ashamed that I didn't know more about this era. Now a do. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in expanding their knowledge about this important period in our history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Nati' Customer on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I first saw this book and read the synopsis I thought it was a book about Cincinnati breweries in the OTR District. In reality it wasn't but what I read was a great book about the German culture that helped shape Cincinnati into the city it is. Focusing on the beginnings of the OTR district to post prohibition this book covers a great wealth of information that would other wise be forgotten. Buy this book if you want to learn about history. Don't buy if you want a book only about breweries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ZSK on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was well written and documented. I read the book after taking a tour of Over the Rhine, the breweries, tunnels and caverns. My only complaint is that Mr. Morgan couldn't help himself and injected modern politics into the book. Aside from that glaring problem, a good read. If you like beer, you'll like this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Clark on December 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that this book was exceptionally well-written in my opinion. It was nothing like I expected it to be when I purchased it though. Being familiar with Cincinnati's rich German beer brewing and cultural heritage, I expected the book to focus entirely on the brewing industry in Cincinnati, its barons and its demise, but instead the book explained the events that led up to Prohibition in a way that made it finally make sense to me, providing a slice of history I had never been taught (and now I know why). Cincinnati was an excellent microcosm for the events leading up to Prohibition to be fully displayed and the extreme impact it had on the city is well understood after this quick read.

I highly recommend anyone interested in Cincinnati, German-American Heritage, Prohibition, or cultural biggotry and predjudice to read this book. There are many themes that help even see today's news headlines and culture wars in a new light.
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Not so much a detailed history of individual breweries in Cincinnati as a history of the beer history of Cincinnati and the people and neighborhoods that made Cincinnati a "Beer Town". Very well written and informative. It doesn't hurt that I am a proud Cincinnati native.
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By Heather D. on December 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect condition and it made a great gift! The recipient was so excited to receive it, as he works in the beer industry over the Rhine. From what hes told me, he even learned some new facts!
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