Okrent’s “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”

Daniel Okrent’s “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”

“In 1920 could anyone have believed that the Eighteeth Amendment, ostensibly addressing the single subject of intoxicating beverages, would set off an avalanche of change in areas as diverse as international trade, speedboat design, tourism practices, soft-drink marketing, and the English language itself?  Or that it would provoke the establishment of the first nationwide criminal syndicate, the idea of home dinner parties, the depp engagement of women in political issues other than suffrage, and the creation of Las Vegas? As interpreted by the Supreme Court and as understood by Congress, Prohibition would also lead indirectly to the eventual guarantee of the American woman’s right to abortion and simultaneously dash that same woman’s hope for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Prohibition changed the way we live, and it fundmentally redefined the role of the federal government. How the hell did it happen?” (Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Copyright 2010)

So I have a list of books I want to get and read and this is one of them.  Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition was one of the main resources used in Ken Burn’s Prohibition, a documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  I enjoyed watching the documentary, which Okrent himself was a part of.  I read some sample pages of Okrent’s book on Amazon as well as reviews. In addition to seeing the documentary, what I’ve read of and about the book is that it’s very informative, a refreshing take on Prohibition and the author’s writing style draws you into this period of American history that today we still wrestle with both its intended and unintended consequences. 

Additional Reading:

Temperance to Excess (by David Oshinsky, New York Times Sunday Book Review, May 21, 2010)

The Fresh Air Interview: Author Daniel Okrent, Prohibition Life: Politics, Loopholes And Bathtub Gin (NPR, May 20, 2010)

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