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The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet [Kindle Edition]

Mr. Garrett Peck
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Spirits are all the rage today. Two-thirds of Americans drink, whether they enjoy higher priced call brands or more moderately priced favorites. From fine dining and piano bars to baseball games and backyard barbeques, drinks are part of every social occasion.

In The Prohibition Hangover, Garrett Peck explores the often-contradictory social history of alcohol in America, from the end of Prohibition in 1933 to the twenty-first century. For Peck, Repeal left American society wondering whether alcohol was a consumer product or a controlled substance, an accepted staple of social culture or a danger to society. 

Today the legal drinking age, binge drinking, the neoprohibitionist movement led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the 2005 Supreme Court decision in Granholm v. Heald that rejected discriminatory curbs on wine sales, the health benefits of red wine, advertising, and other issues remain highly contested.

Based on primary research, including hundreds of interviews with those on all sides--clergy, bar and restaurant owners, public health advocates, citizen crusaders, industry representatives, and more--as well as secondary sources, The Prohibition Hangover provides a panoramic assessment of alcohol in American culture. Traveling through the California wine country, the beer barrel backroads of New England and Pennsylvania, and the blue hills of Kentucky's bourbon trail, Peck places the concerns surrounding alcohol use within the broader context of American history, religious traditions, and governance.

Society is constantly evolving, and so are our drinking habits. Cutting through the froth and discarding the maraschino cherries, The Prohibition Hangover examines the modern American temperament toward drink amid the $189-billion-dollar-a-year industry that defines itself by the production, distribution, marketing, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Editorial Reviews


"A fair-minded, well-reported and important look at regulatory issues....Anyone interested in reforming antiquated alcohol regulations will get a good deal of pleasure from this book." 
--American Brewer, Summer 2010

"This book deftly combines careful research, excellent storytelling, and strong opinions about strong drink." --William Rorabaugh, author of "The Alcoholic Republic"

"Brings us face-to-face with those who would have us continue down the path of righteousness, and shows us how, far too often, that path can lead to treacherous results." --John M. McCardell, Jr., founder of Choose Responsibility

"From discussions of policies since Prohibition to Americans' tastes for drinks throughout the decades, this book will appeal to anyone interested in alcohol." --Edward Stringham, Trinity College

About the Author

Garrett Peck is a freelance journalist for the alcoholic beverage industry. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and earned a master's degree in international affairs at George Washington University. The Prohibition Hangover is his first book, one that he researched for more than five years. He also leads the Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites in Washington, DC.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2973 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (August 5, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00368CTP2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #703,958 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Alcohol August 25, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author takes on the subject of alcohol, and covers it from every angle, delving into such diverse topics as the history of alcohol (and its potential future); changing social attitudes about consumption; the medical evidence regarding drinking; politics, and the motivation of alcohol taxation; and the impact of religion on alcohol use. Overarching all this is an in-depth discussion of the Temperance movement, and its lasting impact on America's attitude toward alcohol. There's something for everyone here.

The author brings it all together in a surprisingly accessible and interesting way for the average reader. He clearly has his own opinions on this controversial subject, and he's not afraid to share them, keeping the read lively.

The book reveals that almost 2/3 of American adults consume alcoholic beverages. Given that we, as Americans, spend so much time and money on alcohol, it only makes sense to understand more about it. A thorough, well-written book about a fascinating topic. Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prohibition Hangover won't give you one December 7, 2009
Garrett Peck's enjoyable and entertaining account takes the reader through the changing mores surrounding the consumption of alcohol in America. The book's broad account takes the reader on tours of whiskey country in Kentucky, California's wine regions, and the history of American beer brewing. The title refers to the continuing effects of Prohibition, in particular the patchwork of federal, state and local laws that still limit the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. Peck also shows that we're drinking less in quantity, but enjoying higher quality, as seen in the decline of the big national beer brands. Peck is probably at his best describing the furious lobbying efforts and the perennial marketing battles as the distillers, brewers and vintners jostle for market share. If you're looking for the reasons behind what and why we drink--and how, when, and where we do it-- you'll probably find the answers here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and informative December 7, 2009
Garrett Peck has written a highly informative and entertaining account of the liquor industry in the United States. The author provides background on the temperance movement of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and shows how, even today, that movement affects our liquor laws and attitudes. He also provides interesting information about the production of different types of liquor and insights into trends in this important industry. Whether you drink a lot or not at all (or are somewhere in between), you will find "The Prohibition Hangover" enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All angles of alcohol January 22, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The subject of alcohol in America has so many facets that it would be hard to know where to begin to write a book about it, but Garrett Peck has done just that in his comprehensive look at the history and current state of alcohol use, mores and laws in the United States. Prohibition is a good central idea and that is his starting point.

Author Peck has written one terrific book. The eighteenth amendment to the Constitution propelled the nation through thirteen years of "The Noble Experiment", a phrase to which this period is often referred. Peck then turns to current day usage through chapters regarding spirits, beer and wine. Tidbits of wonderful wisdom pop out. Who knew that even though the Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century brought their wine with them that wine didn't catch on for decades because of the rise of the temperance movement. Through this first part of the book the author relates how whiskey is distilled, why beer drinking is on the decline (even thought it still represents the larger percentage of the alcohol we drink) and how small wineries survive. His guide through Napa and Sonoma is among the best parts of the book. Peck also describes the business aspects of the sale and distribution of beer, wine and spirits, which I found fascinating as one who is not particularly knowledgeable in that field.

The second half deals more with laws and social consequences of alcohol. There is a requisite chapter called "Alcohol and Your Health" and he even gets into the religious side of the acceptance or rejection of alcohol by mainstream American churches.
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More About the Author

Garrett Peck is an independent historian and literary journalist. His sixth and latest book is "Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America's Great Poet." Peck was involved with the DC Craft Bartenders Guild in lobbying the DC City Council to have the Rickey declared Washington's native cocktail. He researched and pinpointed the site of the Washington Brewery at Navy Yard, and is particularly proud that Green Hat Gin is named after a character Peck wrote about in his book "Prohibition in Washington, D.C.": congressional bootlegger George Cassiday. He has lectured at the Library of Congress, delivered the Ruth Ann Overbeck Lecture, and often speaks at literary clubs, historical societies, and trade associations.

Peck leads a number of history-related tours in the Washington area, including the Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites in the nation's capital, which has been featured on C-SPAN Book TV and the History Channel program "Ten Things You Didn't Know About" with punk rock legend Henry Rollins. He also leads the Walt Whitman Tour, Jazz History Tour, brewing tours of Alexandria and DC, and many others.

Peck graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and earned a master's degree in international affairs at George Washington University. Peck has worked two decades in marketing and is a former U.S. Army officer. A native Californian, he lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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