David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.
" Enlightening and entertaining.
"Prof. Ronald H. Spector, Author of At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century.
" Fans of Boardwalk Empire will love it, while social and maritime historians will find much of interest.
Field Horne, Chair (2001-2012), Conference on New York State History.
"... Lawson gives us a vivid and fresh examination of the rum-running era in New York City's history.
From the Author
I presented a paper on this subject at a New York State History Conference in Saratoga Springs, and published a brief summary in Prologue: Journal of the National Archives
in 2011. Sources are 90 archival boxes of records of seized vessels for 1920-33 by the U.S. Coast Guard which are stored in the National Archives in Washington D.C. These records, confidential for many years, cover the coastal United States and Great Lakes, and are organized by name of the vessel, not geographically. (Hence, one must go through all the boxes to determine which files are relevant to New York City.) I found many unpublished photographs in these records including snapshots of bootleggers on vacation, police mug shots, and a nautical chart documenting the location of a rum ship off Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and eastern Long Island in the area known as Rum Row. Selections from these appear in the book.
In addition, known and published primary and secondary sources on the subject were consulted. I believe I am the first historian to integrate these into a coherent, systematic narrative of the markets of supply and demand for New York City, as well as being the first to cite seized vessel for the city and its environs.
Raised on Cape Cod, my first five summers were spent in the keeper's cottage of the Sandy Neck lighthouse overlooking Barnstable harbor, and the rest of my youth I lived in West Falmouth on the southwestern side of the Cape. Conducting oral history interviews of Sandy Neck residents in the 1990s, on my first return visit to the lighthouse, I learned a cottage adjacent to it was used by rum runners during Prohibition. I also learned double-ender ("double-endahs") boats were popular with smugglers since you could use either end for loading or unloading. Then, while visiting the National Archives to consult Coast Guard records on the early years of "my" lighthouse, I "discovered" previously confidential Seized Vessel files (90 boxes) for Prohibition. And I was hooked.
P.S. Joe Kennedy is mentioned in my book. Check it out!