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Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America Paperback – May 1, 2011
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The Roaring Twenties is one of our most romanticized eras. We tend to look back on the days of Prohibition as a golden time of freewheeling gangsters and gun-wielding G-men, all of whom really knew how to live. Edward Behr's thorough and comprehensive history of that time labors under no such misconceptions. Prohibition, as Behr so expertly illustrates, was a period of rampant corruption maintained by vicious violence and widespread dishonesty. The central character in Behr's story is bootlegger George Remus, who once recounted to the Senate how he was able to sell massive amounts of whiskey as medicine after purchasing a license from United States Attorney General Harry Daugherty. No reader of Prohibition will ever look back on the 1920s with quite the same naive pleasure. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Prohibition did not go into effect until 1920, but, with the early Americans notorious for heavy drinking, numerous groups had been trying to ban alcohol for decades. Although there were several well-known temperance advocates in the early 1800s, prohibitionists were derailed by a series of more pressing national matters?the abolitionist movement, the Civil War and Reconstruction. The "dry" cause picked up speed in 1893 with the formation of the Anti-Saloon League. Led by Wayne Wheeler, the ASL was a formidable lobbying group that was able to turn prohibition into a patriotic issue during WWI. With the conclusion of the war, and with the ASL and Wheeler at the height of their powers, passage of the Volstead Act was a foregone conclusion. Behr (The Last Emperor) tracks the 13 years of Prohibition primarily through the actions of Wheeler, bootlegger George Remus and Chicago mayor "Big Bill" Thomson, and in doing so stresses the corruption of politicians and law enforcement officials that made carrying out the 18th Amendment all but impossible. Behr calls Prohibition a disaster that helped cause some of today's problems by spurring the growth of organized crime. He also sees similarities between Prohibition and the current fight against drugs, and argues that an overhaul of antidrug legislation is long overdue. Although Behr's work is not a comprehensive examination of the Prohibition era, it is informative and entertaining from start to finish. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I'm sorry to say that the Kindle version is riddled with typos. It looks like the text was scanned and not well proof-read. Not sure why, with print books starting out as digital files anyway, this should be the case. I don't believe the errors were enough to hurt the book, but they did make me sit up and take notice.
I learned much about the prohibition era that lead to bootlegging and bathtub gin halls. I found it to be very informative and enlightening.
Bootleggers were quite creative!
Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing
Most recent customer reviews
These temperance leaders were on single-minded warpath that would send