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Preview — Last Call by Daniel Okrent
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.
From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more bee...more
The bottom line of prohibition is that is was a massive failure. It singlehandedly created organized crime, cost the government lots of money in lost taxes and enforcement, and failed to stop pretty much anyone from drinking.
But Wheeler is not the only prohibition-era titan to have utterly vanished from our national memory. There was Frances Willard, “immortal foun ...more
The movement for Prohibition made for some odd bedfellows. It came hand-in-hand with ...more
"The story of the War on Alcohol has never needed to be told more urgently—because its grandchild, the War on Drugs, shares the same DNA. Okrent alludes to the parallel only briefly, on his final page, but it hangs over the book like old booze-fumes — and proves yet again Mark Twain's dictum: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
With the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1921, the dysfunctions of Prohibition began. ...more
The political maneuvering and the influence of pressure groups such as the Anti-Saloon League,the Women's ...more
Carrie Nation: The Famous and Original Bar Room Smasher
Agent M.T. Gonzaulles: The Lone Wolf of Texas
Agent William R. Hervey: The Kokomo Schoolmaster
Agent Samuel Kurtzman: The Plague of the North
Agent Al Wolff: Wallpaper (because when he raided a joint, he packed up everything but the wallpaper)
Agent Daisy Simpson: The Woman with a Hundred Disguises
Assistant Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt: The Prohibition P ...more
As I read, I really tried to keep track of all the various forces that came together in a once-in-a-lifetime gathering to result in one of the lowest points of American political life: Prohibition. Some of the forces were:
The dry forces were very well organized. A lot of modern-day politics -- including one-issue voting, grass roots campaigning, and ...more
What's remarkable about Last Call is what it's not: while it would've been awful easy to dedicate dozens of pages to the likes of Lucky Luciano ...more
Once the book got started, though, it did have a lot of great insights about life during prohibition, the way it changed the economy and the politics of it all, and it was wrapped up nicely.
Frankly, I'd be interested ...more
Hour-long interview with the author available for free download or streaming here.
This is a very entertaining listen but occasionally I thought I was going to get a headache from its stridently conservative (in US political sense) interpretation of history ...more
As the author summarizes in his epilogue, pg373, "In almost every respect imaginable, Prohibition was a failure. It encouraged criminality and institutionalized hypocrisy. I ...more
I found the history of alcohol consumption in the U.S. to be of particular interest. See the following link to a graph showing the history of U.S. Alcohol Consumption:
LINK: U.S. Alcohol Consumption
After looking at the above graph one might wonder ...more
If that's the basic outline of Prohibition, this book fills in the details, and I do mean details. If a more comprehensive book on the subject exists, I would be very surprised. But the author is a journalist, not an academic, ...more