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The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,052 ratings  ·  516 reviews
The true crime story of bootlegger George Remus and the murder that shocked the nation.

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he's a multimillionaire. The press calls him "King of the Bootleggers," writing breathless stories
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,052 ratings  ·  516 reviews

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Start your review of The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott is a 2019 Crown Publishing Group publication.

An absorbing and shocking true crime saga!!

George Remus is a name I was only moderately familiar with. I knew he was a famous bootlegger during prohibition, but I didn’t know much more than that. I had not familiarized myself with his complex criminal operation or with his personal issues, which included referring to hims
Diane S ☔
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
Before Al Capone is known, a German immigrant, George Remus sees the many opportunities Prohibition offers and seizes the chance. Although he was currently working as a lawyer he becomes the king of the bootleggers. In a few years, he and his wife Imogene amass a fortune. The best cars, clothes, s huge mansion in Cincinnati with all the best furnishing. Remus even has a swimming pool built just for Imogene.

This massive display if wealth comes to the attention of Mabel Willebrandt, a woman, one o
Joshilyn Jackson
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read all of Abbott's books, even though I am primarily a fiction reader. I love them because they read like novels. This one reads like a literary legal thriller.

It has some INSANE twists. I love that things actually happened that would break my suspension of disbelief in fiction. The truth really is stranger. Well drawn characters, gorgeous writing, and a murder mystery? Yes, please. Highly recommended.
Anne Bogel
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I appropriately picked up this book last fall at the Cincinnati literary festival Books by the Banks. At the time, I didn't realize the book was set in the area! In this true crime tale, Abbott sets out the story of George Remus, a teetotaler who built a whiskey empire during Prohibition, and was so successful that at one point he controlled 30% of the liquor consumed during that time. I felt like I was reading about a real-life Jay Gatsby: the real-life details about Remus's wild parties were u ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Competently executed yet disappointingly dull.

I have greatly enjoyed Abbott’s other work and expected this to be a slam dunk. Unfortunately, I found myself bored of the narrative and apathetic about the subject matter.

Generally speaking, bootlegging and Prohibition are not topics that lend themselves particularly well to narrative nonfiction. They certainly *seem* like they should (largely because fiction has done such a good job with this topic), but the sad fact is that money and (temporary)
♥ Sandi ❣
3.5 stars

This book is hard for me to review, due to two reasons - first, I read it in starts and stops and secondly, although very well researched, it became boring in spots. However, it is due back to the library today, so I lack the time to ponder or procrastinate.

Gangsters, bootleggers, crime and corruption, and all in the Midwest. That is what drew me to the book. And there was plenty of that for the taking. The star of this book was George Remus, multimillionaire and known as the "King of
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Crown Publishing

Many thanks to Crown Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

This wasn't that interesting to me. It wasn't horrible but I've read better true crime novels

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Karen R
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ghosts of Eden Park Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott brilliantly pieces together this page-turner through meticulous resource and without any fictional dialogue. With so much chronicled information, I suspected this might be a dry journaling of events but no, far from it! It is a rich narrative, a captivating story about a volatile time in American history that involved widespread corruption amongst a who’s who of politicians, judges, law enforcement and civilians.

So many wanted a piece of the boot
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sexy, smart, compulsively readable -- and expertly researched.
Natasha Niezgoda
Aug 07, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: true-crime
Robert Sheard
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Americans have long been fascinated with Prohibition and bootleggers, so it's no surprise that a story about one of the biggest bootleggers would bring such attention. Throw in a domestic murder as well and you have the makings of what should have been a spell-binding read. Unfortunately, this book doesn't really get there. Abbott's research is extensive and meticulous, but I think that might actually have hampered the storytelling. So much secondary and tertiary information gets included that t ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This is a must read in Cincinnati, where I’ve lived for the past 27 years. Great city btw. I combined ebook and audio, which I like to do occasionally, depending on the book. This audio was great so I switched over half way through.
Alternating male and female narrators added to the appeal of listening and sparking the content. Facts and entertaining drama entwined for great historical content we must “keep alive.”
Must read for true crime fans.
Peter Tillman
Aug 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: history
Harold Schechter at the WSJ found it a "hugely entertaining work of popular history": (as always, I'm happy to email a copy to non-subscribers)
George Remus, a pharmacist & lawyer, found a loophole in the Volstead act "that permitted licensed pharmacists, such as himself, to legally acquire liquor for “medicinal purposes.” Within a year, he owned “35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.” The tabloids would crown him “King of the Bootlegg
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: axis360, kindle, history
The grumpus23 (23-word commentary)
Life story of The King of Bootleggers. While in prison, wife has affair with government agent. Someone is murdered. Insane? Read to decide.
patrick Lorelli
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
A book with really many different stories inside all dealing with prohibition. You have George Remus who first divorces his first wife, marries second wife Imogene. Because he has a pharmacist license, he was allowed to purchase liquor. This was for medical purposes but he saw a way to make money out of it and did he ever. Within a few years of their marriage, the two of them were living in a mansion, with the top of the line in everything. They would also have very elaborate parties that were o ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a fascinating tale. Almost unbelievable. Great writing and storytelling. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into Prohobition and the good/evil side of it. I've read one other book by this author and loved it as well.
Kitty Jay
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are times when you hear of people who had such an enormous impact on the course of history that you wonder how you never heard of them before. George Remus, and his pursuer, Mabel Willebrandt, are two such people. George Remus, at one time known as the "King of the Bootleggers", owned as much as 35% of all liquor in the United States during Prohibition. Given to excess and outpourings of emotion, coupled with an erratic, but nonetheless successful, business acumen, he built an extensive ne ...more
Beth Cato
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advance ebook via NetGalley.

I never cease to be amazed by the innovations and machinations perpetuated by bootleggers during Prohibition, and wow does this book bring an incredible drama to light. George Remus was a corporate powerhouse out of Cincinnati. Once a lawyer known for courtroom histrionics, he switched his focus to dominating the illicit liquor trade throughout the Midwest. He accumulated incredible wealth and prestige, masterminding some third of bootleg operations with
Bruce Perrin
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A Tale of Bootlegging, Betrayal, and Murder Diluted in the Telling

The Ghosts of Eden Park is set in the Jazz Age in the United States. It was a time of great change—women received the right to vote; fashion, music, and social norms were being transformed; and alcohol became illegal. Into this setting, insert George Remus, a lawyer turned bootlegger who quickly amassed a vast fortune by finding loopholes in the new Prohibition laws. Opposing Remus was Mabel Walker Willebrandt, appointed as US Ass
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-non-fiction
I typically don't read a lot of true crime, but I found the synopsis intriguing. I am certainly glad that I read this book! The Ghosts of Eden Park focuses on the career of pharmacist, lawyer, and bootlegger George Remus and his wife Imogene and their relationship as Remus gains notoriety as the "King of Bootleggers."

The success that George Remus has makes him very wealthy, with he and his wife often bestowing very valuable gifts upon the pair's dinner party guests. Remus' operation catches the
Ronnie Cramer
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A well-researched if sometimes laborious account of a 1920s murder. The book includes plenty of interesting historical information but the events never seem to get tied together adequately.

“If George Remus, the accused, is insane, was he in a fit condition to employ George Remus as attorney? Furthermore, if George Remus the attorney is insane, does he not disqualify himself from representing George Remus the accused?” (p. 238).

The Eighteenth Amendment (and the Volstead Act), prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States (1920-1933) were two of the most insane, malicious, and unsuccessful bits of legislation
Susie Chocolate
A true crime story about the famous bootlegger & subsequent murderer, George Remus all set in the USA in the prohibition era. Incredibly well researched and how could a history book be so riveting, well it was! I listened to an audio version which was fabulously done. I learned so much about this misfortunate era in US history and goggled the history for this era and learned so much about key historical figures and the ridiculousness of the “Volstead Act” which set Prohibition into place.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A page turner that reads like fiction that strains believability. Full of colorful characters, including admired and coddled bootleggers, corrupt government agents, a conniving and vengeful wife, and an ambitious female Justice Department official trying to protect her reputation. There is madness, murder and mayhem. That it all really happened is the surprising part. Abbott succeeds in creating the atmosphere of the times. While the book could have been a little more compact, you will learn abo ...more
A most interesting time of excess and colorful characters; and they are unique characters. Against a backdrop of Prohibition and the accompanying corruption we gain an inside account of the “bootlegger Gatsby” and his trials and tribulations and a most interesting federal prosecutor, Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who was hired out of law school and expected to show no threat to the graft in place but ended up incredibly effective as assistant U.S. Attorney.
Overall three and a half stars, four stars
Joey Bean
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C. S.
Recommended for fans of the genre Historical People Behaving Outrageously.

Well written and clearly well researched, this book still unfortunately hasn't clicked for me the couple of times I've picked it up to read.

You can't win 'em all.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ohio
Crazy story! Reads like fiction because it's so compelling yet unbelievable at the same time. Great Cincinnati and Prohibition history.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A real page-turner, this non-fiction book is filled with zany characters like disbarred attorney and wildly successful bootlegger George Remus, whose unpredictable behavior, both in the courtroom and out, caused a sensation in 1920's Cincinnati.
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Listened to audiobook. The case is somewhat interesting, but the background on the whiskey trade during Prohibition is fascinating. And that the national prosecutor was a woman - in the 1920s! Read to learn about Mabel Walker Willebrandt. This is also the early beginnings of Hoover. Well written, and the transcripts of actual testimony was enlightening.
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