Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America” as Want to Read:
Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  28 reviews
When the Constitution declared on January 16, 1920, that Americans could no longer buy or sell alcoholic drink, it sparked the wildest, booziest years in our history. Everyone -- from lowly criminals to upstanding citizens -- saw in Prohibition an unparalleled license to get rich. Here is the full story of those thirteen years of temperance, telling how and why it all happ ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Arcade Publishing (first published September 30th 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Prohibition, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Prohibition

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  274 ratings  ·  28 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
In America from 1920 to 1933 a grand experiment was tried on a divided issue of alcohol consumption. There was a huge push from groups like the Anti Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement to have alcohol distribution and consumption stopped. Wayne Wheeler as the head of the Anti Saloon League was able to muster together loose alliances such as wives of husbands who spent their money in saloons rather than on the household and anti-German citizens who resented the German immi ...more
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Usually when I can't think of much to say about a book I'll go with "it was well-written", faint praise at best as one would hope a book that managed to get published was at least not poorly written. But I can't even muster up that much enthusiasm for this book. Maybe I've just been run ragged or fighting my biological impulse to hibernate lately, but I fell asleep more while reading Prohibition than any recent book I can remember. It didn't hold my attention at all, and some of the author's sty ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biographies
The title is slightly misleading. Prohibition starts with an in depth look at the temperance movement in America and England it quickly evolves into the trials and tribulations of George Remus during Prohibition and after its repeal. Several bootleggers are mentioned in passing. Prohibition itself seems to take a background to the story.
Ken Dowell
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An account of the 13 years that Prohibition was in effect in the U.S., 1920-1933. To me it is one of the most interesting periods in U.S. history. How did the roaring 20’s happen at the same time that we were subjected to one of the most repressive moralistic laws ever passed?

Most Prohibition tales focus on the mobsters and the politicians. What makes Behr’s account interesting is all of the characters he introduces us to who aren’t in either category There’s a scary woman from Kansas named Carr
Lee Hauser
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flawed but enjoyable

I greatly enjoyed this account of a critical period of American history which, I think, is seriously under-reported. This book is a little dry at times, but overall is very readable. I didn't see the TV series, so I have no idea how it relates, but I found the framing story of the Remus murder trial very effective.

I'm sorry to say that the Kindle version is riddled with typos. It looks like the text was scanned and not well proof-read. Not sure why, with print books starting
David Meyer
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This book provided a decent look at what America was like during the prohibition era. A lot of focus was put on the politics involved with the formation and ending of the Volstead Act. Also of note was the time spent regarding the life and eventual downfall of bootlegger George Remus. There were certain details in this book that I'd never heard, which provided a nice bit of new information. Other times, specifics of the prohibition story were somewhat glossed over, even though the author could w ...more
Thomas Holbrook
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have learned I enjoy reading history. My family record reveals some “investment” by various family members in the production of whiskey - before, during and after prohibition. Most of those family members considered their making corn whiskey was not a crime but a means to feed their families in a region where “cash jobs” were few and subsistence farming often fell short of producing enough to sustain a large family through the lean months. Seeing this volume in a dealers’ store awoke a desire ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I learned some things and other things were reinforced concerning prohibition and the way the government works today. It was a little dry but informative and worth the time I took to read and think about what I learned. I encourage you to check it out.
Chris F
Good and very readable coverage of this interesting aspect of American history.
Kathy Brown
This book is an accessible introduction to an influential era of American history. The book focuses on some of the more obvious causes for the rise of the dry movement---rural vs city, 'nativist' (ironic misnomer ) vs immigrants, religious vs secular, etc. As in most things, " follow the money" leads to the ultimate explanation---power plays among industrialists . I would have liked more information about how prohibition affected people's daily life. the book mostly concerned political, legal, b ...more
Sarah Zama
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Paul Lunger
On January 16, 1920, the greatest social experiment in American history went into affect as the age of Prohibition began with the passing of the 18th amendment. Across the next nearly 13 years, the US found out just how difficult it would be to enforce this new law & saw things about it change that still resonate to this day. In "Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America", Edward Behr describes Prohibition's roots in American history dating back to the founding of the US through the end o ...more
Susan Ferguson
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, history
A very close look at prohibition - before, during and after. Prohibition enabled the rise of the gangster mobs and their entrenchment in politics because enforcement was basically non-existent for those with the money to buy off the police, judges and politicians. In fact, the prohibition agents were political appointments so were ineffective from the very beginning. Mainly the people caught and jailed were the poor who could not afford to make the big pay-offs for protection.
Drunkenness and alc
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The authors purpose of writing this book was to inform readers of the history of prohibition throughout the world, like in Great Britain and mainly in the United States during the 1920s.
I think the theme of the book was to inform the reader about the consequences of trying to enforce something that is practically unenforceable.
I think that the book was a descriptive book. It describes what it was like leading up to prohibition and during the prohibition era by informing the readers of what ki
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Not to bad. The book is mostly about some of the main players in the Prohibition years. I think I was hoping for more info about the national responses or how events played out and the general public responded. This book covers mostly the political and corruptive ends. It is informative and explains the main reasons prohibition failed. Basically, it was set up to fail from the start. Never had a chance. But considering this book was a companion to an A&E program,(which I never saw) it was pretty ...more
Peter Burton
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read about a semi forgotten period.I enjoyed the background to the Prohibition decision which I knew nothing about but got a bit tired of tales of individual corruption and crime which I knew a bit more about.It made me think about modern drug laws which don't seem to be working but drink in moderation is possible while drug taking seems to be impossible in moderation unless one has a very disciplined life.Well written and useful.Possibly more useful to an American readership.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research
Mr. Behr has written a very comprehensive account of the turbulent years around Prohibition. Since I write historical romance in that time period, I found the material extremely useful. The mind set of the populous, on both sides was clearly examined. As Mr. Behr writes--the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Hunter McCleary
Enjoyed the sketches of various characters from Prohibition. just can't imagine from today's perspective that something like that could pass Congress. They are so dysfunctional today they can't agree what day of the week it is. Wish there was a chapter on how it affected the everyday family.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I love history books, especially when they cover speakeasies and the prohibition. Might be a little packed with facts, but I loved how much I learned about what went on behind the prohibition and what caused it.
Tara Godfrey
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on prohibition. Makes me want to learn more about the subject and the time period and the cast of characters in the book.
Loren Kantor
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Cool information but the writing is a bit "dry" (pun firmly intended).
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book about the Prohibition era players and the approaches taken by the different government officials to enforce or ignore the Volstead Act. Can't wait to see the series.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box19
Some good chapters some bad - overall very readable
A history of the 13 years of Prohibition in the U.S. Some of the information was interesting, but I found the narrative to be uneven.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
America's 13 year hangover. Good historical photos. Can legislation alone solve America's problems?
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pretty interesting recap of the story behind Prohibition. Amazing how similar it is to some of the goverment programs currently proposed!
rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2011
rated it it was ok
Mar 08, 2010
Ron Esposito
rated it did not like it
Mar 18, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage: A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice
  • The  Sacred Overlap: Learning to Live Faithfully in the Space Between
  • Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God
  • Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon That Changed the Course of History
  • The True History of Chocolate
  • German Secret Weapons of World War II: The Missiles, Rockets, Weapons, and New Technology of the Third Reich
  • The New Life of Hugo Gardner
  • Hunting the Nazi Bomb: The Special Forces Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Deadliest Weapon
  • The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
  • The Millionaire and the Mummies: Theodore Davis's Gilded Age in Egypt
  • President McKinley: Architect of the American Century
  • Strangely Bright: Can You Love God and Enjoy This World?
  • The Hidden Threat: Mines and Minesweeping in WWI
  • This Side of Paradise
  • The Great Ship: How Battleships Changed the History of War
  • Lie With Me
  • America's War in Vietnam: A Short Narrative History
  • Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life
See similar books…
Edward Samuel Behr was a journalist; he worked primarily as a foreign & war correspondent. He began his career in the early 1950s with the Reuters news agency, then worked for Time-Life, serving as bureau chief in several cities around the world for Time Magazine. He then took a position with Newsweek in 1965 as Asia bureau chief, based in Hong Kong. Later in his career, Mr. Behr also made a numbe ...more

Related Articles

The Great Migration was the movement of six million African Americans out of the South to urban areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and West between...
44 likes · 4 comments