An Entertaining Book About a Fascinating Subject,
This review is from: Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (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. It took forty years before the average consumption of alcohol returned to its pre-Prohibition levels. Liquor remains a highly regulated and highly taxed product and government regulation of daily life has expanded to levels deemed impossible before its adoption.
Daniel Okrent has written a book that will hold the interest of any reader who is enthralled by a story that does not merely tell what happened but how and why it happened. I am glad that I listened to this book and have a much better understanding of the Prohibition movement and Twentieth Century American history than I did before I encountered it.