The story of the disastrous attempt to outlaw alcohol: “Informative and entertaining from start to finish” (Publishers Weekly).
A companion to the A&E show, this is a rip-roaring history of the US government’s attempt to end America’s love affair with liquor—which failed miserably. On January 16, 1920, America went dry thanks to the passage of the Volstead Act. For the next thirteen years, the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the making, selling, or transportation of “intoxicating liquors”—heralding a new era of crime and corruption on all levels of society. Instead of eliminating alcohol, Prohibition spurred more drinking than ever before.
Formerly law-abiding citizens brewed moonshine, became rum-runners, and frequented speakeasies. Druggists, who could dispense “medicinal quantities” of alcohol, found their customer base exploding overnight. So many people from all walks of life defied the ban that Will Rogers famously quipped, “Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.” Here is the full, rollicking story of those tumultuous days, from the flappers of the Jazz Age and the “beautiful and the damned” who drank their lives away in smoky speakeasies to bootlegging gangsters—Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone—and the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In this “excellent and honest book,” journalist Edward Behr paints a portrait of an era that changed the country forever (The New York Times Book Review).