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Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America

von Edward Behr

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1412147,894 (3.08)1
From the bestselling author of The Last Emperor comes this rip-roaring history of the government's attempt to end America's love affair with liquor--which failed miserably. On January 16, 1920, America went dry. 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. Edward Behr paints a portrait of an era that changed the country forever.… (mehr)
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An easy to read introduction to the Prohibition Era.
I too have spotted some inaccuracies (and I see from other reviews there are more than I expected), and it's true the book sometimes floats away from the subject matter (the chapter about Chicago was basically NOT about Prohibition). But if you are a newcomer to the Prohibition Era - like I was when I read this book - and you're just trying to get a feeling for this time period and then move on to more in-depth works on the subject, it does the job.

The first part is maybe the more interesting. It deals with the social, political and in part the economical atmosphere at the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century that permitted the idea of Prohibition to become a reality. Having now read also the more accurate and in-depth treatment offered by Okrent in his book "Last Call", I know this is a partial analysis, still it give an idea of why Prohibition found such a strong support on its way to becoming a law in the USA.
It also offers an introduction (if in many instances very short and essential) of the main actors in the struggle on both sides.

The central part deals with Prohibition proper, or rather to the time of the actual Prohibition. But I was a little disappointed. There is an attempt at a social analysis here, but on the whole the author seems to rely heavily on anecdotes. Granted, there's nothing wrong with it on a general level, but that's certainly not enough to give a feel of how Prohibition really impacted on the lives of so many people, or the role it plaid in the changing of costumes - especially among young people - or the rise of jazz, or the escalation of crime, or a few other matters.
We still find introductions to many important players (again short and essential like in the first part), with the only exception of the life of George Remus, which, for some reason, is explore in depth. Yes, it was interesting, but not so much - in my opinion - to take up a few chapters.
On the whole, it gave me the impression to be a bit superficial, although you do get an idea of how it was in those days.

The last part was disappointing. The reasons why Prohibition was repealed are very superficially and quickly explored. I felt as if much of what was behind it was just left out (and Okrent's book confirmed this when I read it). The repeal of Prohibition is related in very few pages, very fast, and you don't really get a good idea of why it happened.

On the whole, not the best book on Prohibition I read, but still an easy introduction to it. ( )
  JazzFeathers | Jul 27, 2016 |
3156. Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America, by Edward Behr (read 5 Feb 1999) This is a sloppily written, poorly researched book, with few and inadequate footnotes. It is not history, it is commentary told in a sort of time-line fashion. It is too 'popular' and is really a book written for non-students. It is not great reading. and has obvious mistakes in it, such as saying that LaGuardia beat Jimmy Walker for mayor of New York in 1929, whereas in that year the exact opposite happened: Walker beat LaGuardia. A better book on Prohibition is Deliver Us from Evil, by Norman H. Clark, which I read 6 Apr 1995. ( )
  Schmerguls | Dec 7, 2007 |
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From the bestselling author of The Last Emperor comes this rip-roaring history of the government's attempt to end America's love affair with liquor--which failed miserably. On January 16, 1920, America went dry. 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. Edward Behr paints a portrait of an era that changed the country forever.

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Hachette Book Group

2 Ausgaben dieses Buches wurden von Hachette Book Group veröffentlicht.

Ausgaben: 1559703946, 1559703563

Arcade Publishing

Eine Ausgabe dieses Buches wurde Arcade Publishing herausgegeben.

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