Chasing the White Dog
An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine
From these moonshine pioneers, to the bathtub gin runners of the 1920s, to today’s booming bootleg businessmen, journalist Max Watman traces the historical roots and contemporary story of white lightning, which has played a surprisingly large role in American history. It touched the election of Thomas Jefferson, the invention of the IRS, and the origins of NASCAR. It is a story of tommy guns, hot rods, and shot houses, and the story is far from over. In this fascinating, centuries-long history of illicit booze, Watman infiltrates every aspect of small-scale distilling in America, taking us from the backwoods of Appalachia to the gritty nip joints of Philadelphia, from a federal courthouse to Pocono Speedway. Along the way, this unrepentant lover of moonshine profiles the colorful characters who make up white whiskey’s lore and hilariously chronicles his own attempts to distill hooch from his initial ill-fated batch to his first successful jar of ’shine.
Read an Excerpt
On Top of Old Smoky
The manufacture of illicit whiskey in the mountains is not dead. Far from it. — THE FOXFIRE BOOK, VOL. 1
THE FIRST TIME I SAW RENÉ WITH A JAR OF MOONSHINE, WE were having a beer in an empty bar and gazing at the sun-dappled trees of Tompkins Square Park. It was a quiet afternoon at Doc Holliday’s, a honky-tonk in downtown New York City with David Allen Coe on the jukebox, cowboy boots nailed to the ceiling, and cheap PBR. These bars, of which there were maybe half a dozen throughout the city, were headed toward a weird pinnacle of noxious renown: It was 1999, and there were...see more
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