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Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless…

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

by Karen Blumenthal

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This book Bootleg Talks about the most hated Amendment, the 18 amendment. The 18 Amendment banned liquor from North America. This book also talks about the criminals that got popular from this Amendment.

Part I starts off with the president Woodrow Wilson signing the 18 Amendment officially making liquor illegal. This is where crime starts to raise because, Americans have been drinking alcohol for centuries. It all started, when liquor was first made liquor was so popular the adults gave it to kids so they could make them stop crying. Scientist were starting to learn that people were dying quicker from alcohol poisoning. Since liquor was banned people were turning into criminals building saloons to sell alcohol. A lot of mayors noticed this going on in their state but, they did nothing but go along with it and drunk some alcohol. Most of males after a hard day at work went to the saloon and drunk some alcohol but, their wife's we fed up with them coming hope drunk from liquor. So a woman by the name of Carrie Nation. Every night after work her husband would coming home drunk . The alcohol even costed her husband his job because, he was arrested for drinking and driving . So in 1899 she swung a hatchet into a saloon window and started to throw bricks. She was arrested over 30 times and beat up by saloons owners. Since that happened they made an 18 amendment. To honor her but it turned out to be a failure and was repealed in 1939.

In part II of the book it talks abut Al Capone the gangster. Al Capone is popular for the Valentine day massacre that took place on 1929. Al Capone was one of the most famous gangsters during his time. He was one of the most wanted on FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) list. He kidnapped people like civilians and voters. Eventually he was paid for doing these crimes. Al Capone got rich from selling alcohol during when the 18 after the 18 amendment was made over a million dollars. In 1929 February 14 The Valentine day massacre was made. It was a war between gangsters Al Capone made it out alive but, was arrested more then a month later on march 27. After he was released he died from a disease. A fun fact about Al Capone is he is one of the ,one richest gangsters his net worth in 2018 would be 1.5 billion Us dollars. Also Al Capone had a family that didn't really have much he and his family members were immigrants. ( )
  AsaJ.G3 | Oct 18, 2018 |
When I started "Bootleg," my knowledge of prohibition was limited to a few isolated facts from high school history class and a viewing of "The Untouchables." By the time I finished, I really felt that I understood the events leading up to "the noble experiment," the problems it gave rise to, and the political lessons it taught us.

Don't let the sensationalist title fool you: author Karen Blumenthal takes her time getting to the "good" parts, carefully describing, over five chapters, the social and political conditions that made it possible for prohibitionists to push through the 18th amendment. Here we meet some intriguing characters, including Morris Sheppard, the "Father of Prohibition," and the indomitable Carrie Nation, whose famously austere sense of fashion made her a favorite target of caricaturists. Blumenthal portrays these figures with a biographer's sympathetic eye, treating Nation's damn-the-torpedoes single-mindedness with the respect it merits. We also learn how the prohibition movement empowered many women (including Susan B. Anthony) to turn their efforts to women's suffrage.

Rosenthal follows the emergence of speakeasies and bootlegging, the rise of corruption, violence, and graft, and the steadily corroding trust between the public and law enforcement. By the time we meet Al Capone, the stage has been beautifully set. Capone is, of course, an endlessly fascinating figure, and anyone seeking the grisly details of his reign of terror over Chicago's liquor trade won't be disappointed. Rosenthal wraps things up with a lucid account of the repeal movement and the adoption of the 21st amendment, wryly observing that the anti-prohibitionists co-opted many of the same tactics that proved so successful for the Anti-Saloon League.

"Bootleg" would be a great resource for interdisciplinary studies of early 20th century American history, politics, and culture. A civics teacher could also use this to illustrate the process of amending the Constitution, the power of grassroots activism, the importance of political compromise, and even taxation.

Blumenthal appears to be something of an authority on the 1920s and '30s; of the many nonfiction works to her credit, four deal with the Prohibition era, including books on the Crash of 1929, Bonnie and Clyde, and the Tommy gun. "Bootleg" also features a glossary, extensive endnotes and citations, and suggested resources for further reading. ( )
  Rheindselman | Feb 6, 2018 |
Karen Blumenthal is journalist and an award winning non-fiction author. This is her second book covering the 1920s. Bootleg is a well and logically researched endeavor. Blumenthal's scope is large, beginning with the burgeoning temperance movement and its ties to women's rights and ending with the foundation of MAAD. She covers several key figures of the era in increased depth, including Morris Sheppard, Carrie Nation, and Al Capone.

However, Blumenthal sacrifices some objectivity in the interest of style. She makes little effort to separate opinion and fact and often ascribes speculative motivations to long dead figures. The narrative begins on the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and asks how the "good intentions" of prohibitionists had "gone so terribly, terribly wrong." The affect, here, is a somewhat sensationalized narrative.

What Blumenthal does do well is withhold her judgement when describing the motivations of "wets" and "dries." She outlines the argument for temperance reasonably, while explaining the importance of alcohol to various American communities. Ultimately, she leaves the question of "good" and "bad" open for interpretation, offering both positive and negative effects of the movement. ( )
  jcelliot | Feb 15, 2017 |
RGG: Interesting, quick read. Topic might be a little specific for wide-interest. Reading Interest: 13-YA.
  rgruberhighschool | Jan 17, 2017 |

When Congress passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol, supporters were convinced it would create a stronger, more moral nation. Instead, corruption and lawlessness erupted. This is a fast-paced, gripping account with vivid photos from the period.
  KilmerMSLibrary | Apr 29, 2013 |
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To Maggie and Wes
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Sometime after 10 A.M. on this shivery-cold and windy Chicago morning, seven men gathered in a nondescript garage warehouse on Clark Street.
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Chronicles the history of Prohibition in the United States, a period from 1920 to 1933 during which it was illegal to sell or drink alcohol, discussing how what began as a movement to heal social ills, became a burden to ordinary citizens and a boon to criminals.
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For more than a decade starting in 1920, millions of regular Americans ignored the law of the land. Parents became bootleggers, kids smuggled illegal alcohol, and outlaws became celebrities. It wasn't supposed to be that way, of course. When Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting the sale and manufacture of alcohol in the United States, supporters believed it would create a better, stronger nation. Instead it began an era of lawlessness, when famous gangsters like Al Capone rose to fame, and many reconsidered their concept of right and wrong. This is the story of those years in American history-- the story of prohibition.… (more)

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