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Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition Hardcover – 11 May 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Non Basic Stock Line (11 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743277023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277020
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Last Call Okrent explores the origins, implementation, and failure of that great American delusion known as Prohibition. "Last Call" explains how Prohibition happened, what life under it was like, and what it did to the country. Full description


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth J. Morris on 19 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a gem of a book. Covering politics, social history, economics and many aspects of 'the American People' it not only provides a splendid read it is extremely entertaining. Some would argue that it's too detailed and too long but in order to get the Prohibition into the correct perspective I thought it essential to cover the period c.1910 to 1935 (prohibition lasted from 1920 - 1933). The author's research is meticulous, his style engaging and his 'balance' (between political, legal and even religious factions) amazing. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JazzFeathers on 18 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not the first book on Prohibition I read, but certainly it's the best so far.
It covers basically every possible aspect of Prohibition, from the way the movement started in the XIX century, to how it ended and why.

I like the first part particularly. It detailed the social, ethnic and even religious reasons why the idea of a legal prohibition of alcohol became acceptable in the United States. Many were against it from the beginning, because they thought a federal law should not regulate the personal life of citizens, but the majority finally had they way because of a tightly knotted array of reasons that spanned from social issues like actual abuse of alcohol, to (true or imagined) issues concerning race and immigrants (this part was new to me and particularly enlightening), to politics, religion and economics. I had never realised before how complex the situation was, but here it was detailed clearly, with a lot of documentation and a crisp style that made it easy to read.

The central part was the hardest for me. It goes into a lot of details about every conceivable aspect of Prohibition, from the sacramental wine, to bootlegging, to the involvement of politics and low enforcement. Some of this was already known to me, some was new, but - personally - I found it too detailed and too much of everything. There wasn't a focus, and it seemed to me as if the matter was all over the place. I did find the information interesting, but I think I'd absorbed it more easily and effectively if I'd had less of it, but more focused.

The last part was back on track. It detailed the reasons why Prohibition was finally repealed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book wasn't quite what I was looking for. It's very much a political and legal history of Prohibition, and I was hoping for more of a social history.

However, that said, this is an excellent read. The author's exhaustive research and mastery of his material is evident on every page, and he still finds room for interesting anecdotes and asides - which to my mind elevates this book from what could have been a somewhat dry recounting of the years 1910-1935 to something incredibly engaging. He succeeds into truly bringing into focus characters I had never before heard of, people who had an enormous impact on the Prohibition years but have somehow disappeared from history's view - like Pauline Sabin, Wayne Wheeler, Mabel Willebrandt and others.

One of the aspects I most enjoyed is the focus on the well-known alcoholic brands on today, and how they adapted and prospered throughout Prohibition - companies such as Pabst, Miller, Busch, Jack Daniels etc. Some of these companies have somewhat airbrushed their histories, so it's quite intriguing to read about their 'dirty laundry'! As is the revelation that Joseph Kennedy, JFK's father, was not a bootlegger and there is no evidence at all that he was. Even I thought he was!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
"Last Call" is a comprehensive study of the phenomenon known as Prohibition. Author Daniel Okrent studies what drew it into being, the life it lived and what led to its repeal. The story of how Prohibition interplayed with so many other trends of its day and how it affected the development of our country is fascinating.

Did you ever wonder how the German-American brewing families incurred the wrath of Americans, and learned their lesson? Did you ever contemplate how the banning of liquor made the income tax necessary, and palatable? Did you ever think about the influence of women's suffrage and the timing driven by the impending redistricting after the 1920 census? What arguments did World War I give to the proponents of Prohibition? Did it ever occur to you that all amendments prior to the Eighteenth limited the actions of government whereas it extended government involvement in daily life, establishing a precedent that would follow a million courses to today? This book leads the reader through those questions and more.

This book also explains some of the changes that Prohibition brought to our corporate world, such as the rise of Seagram's from the sales made to middlemen who smuggled its products into the United States, to the explosion of Walgreens in the age of medicinal alcohol. The increased demand for sacramental wine would seem to suggest a sudden burst of religious fervor, but merely masked a sacrilegious hypocrisy.

Ultimately Prohibition would fall in a changed country, a country in which the flaunting of the law became an industry in itself. Although repeal had been deemed impossible, it came as rapidly as had the adoption. Although gone, Prohibition's influence remains unto this day.
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