Dear Great Book Guru, As we face the last few days of February, it really feels that Spring is near. Soon we will be dining outdoors at Sea Cliff’s great restaurants and bars. Speaking about bars, a friend of mine told me about a great book she had read about the rise and fall of Prohibition. Are you familiar with it? Cocktail Connoisseur
Dear Cocktail Connoisseur, LAST CALL by Daniel Okrent is the book for you. It’s the story of probably the most puzzling period in American history. How could a freedom-loving people willingly give up something that been part of their lives since the 1600’s, consumed by rich and poor, men and women, something cheaper than tea, safer than water? Indeed, how could Prohibition have ever worked? Well, Okrent maintains it didn’t- that Prohibition was a disastrous failure from its inception. He presents us with a colorful cast of strange bedfellows: women suffragettes, Klu Klux Klansmen, rural sharecroppers, judges, pharmacists, smugglers, bootleggers…a movement strongly fueled by anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism . Susan B. Anthony, Billy Sunday, Charles Walgreen, Samuel Bronfman, Meyer Lansky, August Busch and a myriad of others are spotlighted for the roles they played in this drama. Although repealed after less than fourteen years, Prohibition was to change American society forever. Highly recommended!