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Prohibition: The 13 Years That Changed America Hardcover – 29 May 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; UK First Edition/Limited Signed Copy edition (29 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563387343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563387343
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 852,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Behr masterfully integrates family tales and expert interviews into his account of bootlegging, speakeasies, gangsterism, and racketeering. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edward Behr is a veteran journalist and war correspondent turned author and broadcaster. His many books include studies of the Algerian War, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a best-selling biography of the 'Last Emperor', Pu Yi ( which was awarded the Gutenberg Prize in 1988 and was the companion book to Bertolucci's Oscar-winning film), and another, published in Penguin, on the late Emperor Hirohito. Behr's autobiography and humorous reflections on the nature of journalism, Anyone Here Been Raped and Speaks English?, also published in Penguin, is regarded as a modern classic, and his novel, Getting Even, has been translated into ten languages. His numerous television documentaries include Red Dynasty, a three- part series for BBC2 which documented Chinese communism and the events leading to the massacre at Tiananmen Square; The Rise and Fall of Ceausescu, a BBC-PBS co-production which was nominated for an Emmy in 1992; and a prize-winning documentary on India for French television. He has also written film scripts and published books on the musicals Les Miserables and the making of Miss Saigon. When not travelling, Edward Behr lives in Paris and in Ramatuelle with his wife and two cats. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Martin Oldham on 27 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The book was very informative and entertaining, at times, I didn't want to put it down. As a newcomer to the history of Prohibition, I was unsure what to expect from Behr's writing, but I was suitably impressed. The book itself, is not overly long, 242 pages, however, it is filled with details which led to much intrigue. The author discussed the Temperance movements of the 19th century, and talked of interesting, slightly captivating figures such as Carry Nation or Wayne Wheeler of the Anti Saloon League. The book's structure composed of an exploration of the issues which led to Prohibition in the USA, then went on to talk about Prohibition itself, and the benefits and problems that it had. The issues were each analysed in depth and the author left no stone unturned, the text was excellently written, and was relatively easy for a amateur on the field of Prohibition to understand. The focus of the book, was on the multi-millionaire bootlegger, George Remus, and his downfall, but Behr uses what happened to Remus, to explain the typicality and the larger significance of what went on during those 13 years.

There was one slight disappointment. The author left talking about the breakdown of the Volstead Act, and the road to the 21st amendment until the last 25 to 30 pages of his work. This made the end of the book seem a little rushed, and it was not in keeping with the detailed nature of the previous chapters. In spite of this, I would sincerely recommend this book, it is very interesting and provides a lot of detail on Prohibition in the USA.
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By W. Rodick TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
From 1920 to 1933 it was illegal to drink alcohol in America. That is the sentence I wanted to see as I'm watching Series 4 of Boardwalk Empire. The language used to cover this time often confused me and I quite simply could not get my head around the idea of banning alcohol. And I don't drink.

Words like Volstedt Act, 18th Amendment and Prohibition did not inform me what exactly was going on. Edward Behr's brilliant exposé is enlightening me thoroughly. The Introduction will surprise you where he starts, the opening chapters are full of revealing facts and perspectives.

One such perspective is that movements advocating no drinking gained momentum when there was nothing else for social society to engage and unite in. Unlike in the UK at the time. Where I may differ from Behr's views is his allusion to drug use in our time. I have not yet finished this book but so far he is connecting the illegality of alcohol in the 1920s with illegal drugs now. Even connecting misuse of alcohol with heroin or cocaine. In the UK making drugs legal, even with conditions, would send a message: go on, kill yourself nicely.

I especially love the connection that I might make with copyright of books. I got his book for free on the Internet. The file was for Kindle but I read it on Nook. Should I come quietly?

Where should law be in our lives? As far away as possible is my view. When I've finished reading this fascinating tale of myopic society I shall update this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sharp shane on 29 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
from the start till the end of prohibition tells the whole story with out going to deep in to subjects educational and entertaining
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb. 2001
Format: Hardcover
A book that tells you, not just about the Prohibition era itself, but about the events and social pressures that created the desire for the Prohibition. A good overview that is written in an easy to read style with many interesting anecdotes.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JazzFeathers on 31 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 job.

The first part is maybe the more interesting. It deals with the social, political and in part the economical atmosphere at the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century that permitted the idea of Prohibition to become a reality. Having now read also the more accurate and in-depth treatment offered by Okrent in his book "Last Call", I know this is a partial analysis, still it give an idea of why Prohibition found such a strong support on its way to becoming a law in the USA.
It also offers an introduction (if in many instances very short and essential) of the main actors in the struggle on both sides.

The central part deals with Prohibition proper, or rather to the time of the actual Prohibition. But I was a little disappointed. There is an attempt at a social analysis here, but on the whole the author seems to rely heavily on anecdotes. Granted, there's nothing wrong with it on a general level, but that's certainly not enough to give a feel of how Prohibition really impacted on the lives of so many people, or the role it plaid in the changing of costumes - especially among young people - or the rise of jazz, or the escalation of crime, or a few other matters.
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