Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Karen Blumenthal. 2011. Roaring Brook Press. 155 pages.

Sometime after 10 A.M. on this shivery cold and windy Chicago morning, seven men gathered in a nondescript garage warehouse on Clark Street.

I'll never be able to do this book justice. I don't think I can adequately convey just how fascinating and engaging and completely interesting this nonfiction book is! Would you believe me when I say that the narrative is just that good that you lose yourself?

I knew this book was for me from the start. The opening paragraphs brought to mind one of my favorite movies--Some Like It Hot. And from there the magic continued. Readers learn about the history of alcohol in the United States, from the colonial days until the beginning of the twentieth century. Readers learn a little bit about saloons and why they weren't especially well-liked by women. And they learn about a couple of groups that formed to response to the problems they saw in society. Men and women who felt the nation--as a whole--had a problem with alcohol. Men and women who thought that the removal of alcohol would lead to the removal of other problems as well. They wanted better men and women. They wanted stable homes, stable lives. The early chapters of the book cover the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But most of the book is set during the years immediately following the first World War. In the years when groups were urging legislation through to dry up America. The book covers SO MANY things. And the way the story is conveyed is so engaging, so reader-friendly. I learned so much while reading it!!!

Read Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
  • If you enjoy engaging nonfiction narratives
  • If you're interested in learning more about the early twentieth century
  • If you're looking for nonfiction companion reads to books such as Moon Over Manifest and The Black Duck

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Paige Y. said...

I read this book for SLJ's Battle of the Kids' Books and I must say I loved it. I thought it was easily the best nonfiction book I've read in the past year, rivaling Sugar Changed the World as one of the best nonfiction books for children/young adults.

JaneGS said...

Sounds like my kind of book! Reminds me of Yhe Poisoner's Handbook, by Deborah Blum. Seems like most bootleg was not far from being pure poison.

Seth said...

I love a good popular history book! I'm beginning to think, Becky, that we should hang out.

I'll plug a favorite of mine from recent history. For All the Tea in China, by Sarah Rose. There's a review of it somewhere on my blog.