Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition” as Want to Read:
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  901 ratings  ·  194 reviews
It began with the best of intentions. Worried about the effects of alcohol on American families, mothers and civic leaders started a movement to outlaw drinking in public places. Over time, their protests, petitions, and activism paid off—when a Constitional Amendment banning the sale and consumption of alcohol was ratified, it was hailed as the end of public drunkenness
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Flash Point
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  901 ratings  ·  194 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book was fascinating! Blumenthal describes the historical background behind Prohibition--how it came about--as well as what went on during those thirteen years. What I found most interesting was her description of it as a "social experiment." I'd never thought of it that way before. It was during those years that both my parents were born, and it gave me insight into why they held some of the ideas and attitudes they did. It was during Prohibition that disrespect for the law really started, ...more
Anastasia Tuckness
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is narrative nonfiction at its best. Packed with photos, true stories of both famous people and bit players, layered with more facts than seems possible for its size, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

I would recommend it to upper grade schoolers, middle schoolers, and high schoolers who enjoy learning about history. I think the content is fine for the JNF audience.

Things I learned (these may be spoilers?):
--Morris Sheppard was a rather unassuming senator who was one of the major
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I geek out over a book and wonder how I could have ever repressed my social science background. Reading this book has occasioned one of those epiphanies. I've referenced details from Bootleg at least three times since I started reading it a few days ago and had to pull myself away from Al "Scarface" Capone's Wikipedia page (Yes, I use Wikipedia if I am simply satisfying my own guilty pleasures).

Of course, with the long discussion of the temperance movement before you get to any real d
Rebecca Honeycutt
This book made me wish that I was a middle school student with a report to write. It conveyed enough facts to make a good paper, but was entertaining enough that I wanted to keep reading it. Blumenthal kicks off the book with the Valentine's Day Massacre, then takes readers step-by-step through the social climate of the temperance movement, the politics of prohibition, the rise of crime that contributed to end of prohibition, and the lasting effects of prohibition on our country's attitudes towa ...more
Sunday Cummins
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Blumenthal’s writing is always solid and her research is exquisite. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition (2011) is no exception. This would be a great read for students who are researching prohibition or this time period and wanting lots of juicy-interesting details. Blumenthal’s purpose is to explain the many, many factors involved in the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment and then in the repeal of this amendment as well. She employs an enumerative/chronological tex ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ls-583
Jamie Poorman

Blumenthal, K. (2011). Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. New York: Roaring Book Press.

Genre: Informational

Format: Print (hardcover, 154 pages)


2011 Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year title

One of School Library Journal’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2011

YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist in 2012

Selection Process: Junior Literary Guild selection, Booklist review

Incredibly well researched and written in an easy to read, flowing manner, yet jam pa
Marjorie Ingall
All the thinky-thoughts Jews are currently talking about Jews and Booze, a book for grownups about, uh, Jews and booze. The NYTBR evaluation was dead-on: the title was the best thing about it. The writing was leaden and repetitive and un-zingy. Karen Blumenthal's book, on the other hand, which is for KIDS and about prohibition in general-- not just about the Jews, though it talks a lot (obviously) about religion's role in the struggle and also about some of the nutty Jews involved in both the bo ...more
Jenn Estepp
Pretty decent, although I was slightly underwhelmed. I think, however, that's because I actually know a lot about prohibition and that time period already (it's one of my favorites). It's a little difficult for this not to seem a bit simplistic, going in with that sort of knowledge. But, I suspect that if I were more target audience, I might find it more fascinating. Another minor quibble is that it occasionally felt a little judgmental, but I might be reading into things.

What I did super appre
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the lawless years of prohibition / Karen Blumenthal/ 2011
Genre: non-fiction
Format: juvenile non fiction

Plot Summary: Offers information about Prohibition, temperance movements at the end of the eighteenth century, the Eighteenth Amendment, bootlegging, and gangsters.

Considerations: discussion of mobsters, alcohol, crime, etc

Review Citation: School Library Journal Nov. 28, 2011
"This enthralling text traces the nation’s relationship with alcohol from our earliest se
Ryann B.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though it was a non-fiction book, I did like it. Since it is only about one topic, there was a lot of detail and it made me understands things a lot more. There were some pictures of people and things that happened during the time which help me understand also. Though, I did think that the book was more of murder instead of almost all of it being about prohibition and the years before and after it. Even though it has its flaws, it was a very good book.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Interesting look at Prohibition geared toward YA/teen readers. Covered the prominent players that many would know based on a high school history class. Interesting read.

See my full review on my book blog:

Amanda K
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at an aspect of American history that is often glorified. The title says it all. Middle grades/teens reading.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
book review for TBP Blog --

I picked up Karen Blumenthal’s book Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition, DB 74427 for several reasons. 1) Why would you write a YA non-fiction about alcohol? 2) I grew up in St. Louis, MO, home to the Anheuser Busch brewery and knew that during Prohibition they made drink called Bevo at the brewery and that the Clydesdales delivered beer to the White House when Prohibition was repealed. 3) I wrote my senior thesis in college on the women’s
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
11 January 2011 BOOTLEG: MURDER, MOONSHINE, AND THE LAWLESS YEARS OF PROHIBITION by Karen Blumental, Roaring Brook, May 2011, ISBN: 978-1-59643-449-3

"Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall
Ninety-nine bottles of beer"
--very long song we sang on the school bus while traveling to my first NY Yankees game in 1964

"Prohibition, as it was called, was a grand social revolution that was supposed to forever end drunkenness, reduce crime, and make life better for America's families.
"Nine years later, the
A. Cooper
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
by Joshua C. Cohen
Gives a balanced view of one of the most interesting eras of 20th century American history
May lack action for those drawn in by the "murder" of the title

What do young adult readers look for in a non-fiction book? Often, teen non-fiction concerns itself with the darker, sordid side of human history such as award-winning books such as Hitler Youth and American Plague. Karen Blumenthal adds to this tradition w
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition" provides an overview of the brief period of time in US history known as prohibition in the 1920's. Blumenthal takes the reader on a journey through the prohibition time period including some precursor events and final result after prohibition ended. The book offers well-studied material accompanied by graphs, statistics, and pictures from the historical period. Everything is well documented with additional resources for anyone se ...more
Leigh Collazo
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, read-in-2012

Read more reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: I must admit: I am NOT a nonfiction reader and rarely read nonfiction for anything more than to gain information that I need for a specific and personal purpose. The only reason I picked up Bootleg at all was to preview it for our upcoming Spirit of Texas Middle School committee meeting in a few weeks. Bootleg has been nominated for this year's list, and I need to be able to debate whether it should be included on the list.

I had planned to read only
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-books
Summary: As the book’s title states, Bootleg is a non-fiction book that discusses the rise, the fall, and everything in between in regards to the prohibition. Included are the events and reasons behind why the prohibition began, the positive and negative effects of prohibition, and how prohibition came to a halt. Besides just text, there are black-and-white photographs, comedic drawings, and advertisements. In addition, the end of the book includes a glossary, bibliography, source notes, and an ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Bootleg travels all the way back to the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower with their casks of beer and hard liquor. Then it works its way through the events leading to the 18th Amendment - aka Prohibition - and finally winds up with the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th.

All along the way, Bootleg is spiked with liquor-related trivia, and insight into the minds of those who fought so hard to free America from the grip of alcohol.

Oh BoB, I just never know what kind of book y
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal is a well researched, fascinating read about the causes and consequences of Prohibition in the U.S.

Worried about the effects of alcohol on American families, mothers and civic leaders started a movement to outlaw drinking in public places.
Protests, petitions, and activism paid off when a Constitional Amendment banning the sale and consumption of alcohol was ratified. Hailed as the end of public drunkenness, alc
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As I’ve said in reviews before, the era of American Prohibition completely and utterly fascinates me for more reasons that I’d care to cite. Because I’ve had the good fortune to read so many of the scholarly efforts exploring this unique period in U.S. history, I’ve now been directed toward some of the books targeted at readers much younger than I … and I’m giving Karen Blumenthal’s BOOTLEG: MURDER, MOONSHINE, AND THE LAWLESS YEARS OF PROHIBITION an enthusiastic thumbs up.

It’s a quick read, bris
Margo Tanenbaum
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1920-s, non-fiction
This fascinating new narrative nonfiction book delves into the story of Prohibition, a unique and colorful decade in our country's history. Author Karen Blumenthal , a long-time journalist with the Wall Street Journal, puts her considerable writing skills to good use in explaining how the great social revolution known as Prohibition, which was supposed to forever end drunkenness, reduce crime, and improve the lives of America's families, led instead to a culture of lawlessness, bribery, gangster ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Blumenthal brings a balanced narrative of the well-meaning intentions of creating a more peaceful and safe society by enacting Prohibition as well as the lawlessness of the era. Prohibition is, by some, considered a failed social experiment. Blumenthal fully explores the truth behind this by examining how the righteous energy of the temperance movement affected national law. However, after the law was passed with ideas of good intentions it essentially crumbled over the near fourteen years it wa ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
While this book was very educational, it was almost too boring at times. It read like a textbook most of the time and I do not think this will appeal to teens at all unless they have a special interest in Prohibition. The title itself Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition makes the book seem more wild than it is, and doesn’t coincide with the picture on the cover, which shows two men pouring bottles of alcohol into sewage. Nothing wild about that. The parts that were the most i ...more
Kay Mcgriff
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Karen Blumenthal writes nonfiction the way it should be written. I just wish my history textbooks in school had been written half as well as Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition (Roaring Book Press 2011). I would have learned a lot more and enjoyed it, too.

Blumenthal opens the book with one of the most chilling scenes from the Prohibition years: the Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. Then she backs up decades to trace just how we as a country ended up in such a plac
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-sjh, nonfiction
(My reviews are intended for my own info as a language arts teacher: they serve as notes and reflections for teaching and recommending to students. Therefore, spoilers may be present but will be hidden.)

SUMMARY: I have been on a roll with reading really good nonfiction, lately! I knew I would like Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition because I think Prohibition and the Jazz Age are endlessly fascinating, but Karen Blumenthal's book, geared for a YA audience, exceeded
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Readers who pay attention to the continuing war on drugs taking place in today's cities may be struck by the similarities by current law enforcement efforts and the climate that led to the passage and the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. Starting with the 1929 gangland shooting known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, this excellent nonfiction book provides the background and describes the individuals most responsible for the Prohibition movement and then describes the consequences of Prohi ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a well-rounded look at the colorful Prohibition era. It takes into account both negative and positive aspects of the law that resulted in unintended consequences (Prohibition was initiated to decrease lawlessness and drunkenness, but instead increased both). Karen Blumenthal, a longtime writer for the “Wall Street Journal,” creates a highly readable nonfiction text that instantly engages the reader by opening with the 1929 Valentines Day massacre in Chicago and then highlighting the poli ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it
A very easy read with a great many topics covered (as the subtitle implies). The black and white photos are fun to look at, especially with the propaganda photographs as legislation began to prohibit the sale of alcohol. There were many characters involved from the president to the women who began movements to protect their homes from the evils of alcohol that had consumed their husbands as well as a few chapters about Al Capone and his contributions.

While the story isn't overly humorous, serio
Penny Johnson
Well, wow, this was a fascinating read. I'm remembering just how much I love reading nonfiction! Even as a teenager I gravitated towards informational books rather than novels. I'm grateful YALSA has introduced an Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award, because that shines the spotlight on great books like this one, which is the 2012 award winner.

Everyone has heard of Prohibition and Al Capone and speakeasies and machine guns in violin cases, but do you know the story behind it all? This boo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein
  • Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
  • Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
  • Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science
  • Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles
  • Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917
  • We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
  • The Elephant Scientist
  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
  • Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery
  • Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
  • Black and white : the confrontation of Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor
  • Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
  • Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air
  • Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing
See similar books…
Some kids hate being picked last for sports teams. Karen Blumenthal would have been happy to have been picked last -- if it meant that she could play. But like most girls of her generation, she was stuck on the sidelines.

Title IX became law when Ms. Blumenthal was a young teen, and for years it represented a possibility that always seemed just out of reach. That's not so today: Most girls she know