In January 1920 the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors ushered in the Prohibition era. Despite very early signs of success, prohibition was difficult to enforce. People who wanted to keep drinking found even more inventive and potentially dangerous ways to do it.
Individuals made "moonshine" or "bathtub gin" at their houses, illegal nightclubs selling alcohol known as "speakeasies" were plentiful and supplied by the rise of criminal activity associated with bootlegging.
These illegal operations fueled an increase in gang violence, and the rise of the most notorious gangster in American History, Al Capone who ran Chicago's largest bootlegging, gambling and prostitution syndicate.
It took 13 years before the law was repealed by the 21st Amendment ending prohibition in February 1933. The age of Prohibition changed the face of fashion, music and the criminal underground. It was an era of over indulgence that left behind a fascination and hunger for fact and fiction on an era that is immortalized in books with thrilling stories of an age not soon forgotten.
Here are some books based on the Prohibition era that you should check out. Click on the slideshow for more info on each book.
- “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”, by Daniel Okrent
- “Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition”, by Karen Blumenthal
- “The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York”, by Deborah Blum
- “Water for Elephants”, by Sara Gruen
- “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City”, by Nelson Johnson
- “The Untouchables”, by Eliot Ness, Oscar Fraley
- “The Great Gatsby”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald