New from Simon & Schuster

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans
MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins
The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
As You Wish by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
Revival by Stephen King
Dreamers and Deceivers by Glenn Beck
Last Call

Last Call

The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Read by: Richard Poe
  • bestseller
  • 1award
A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Last Call is capacious, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442348721 | 
  • September 2011
Add to Cart
List Price $29.95
In Stock: Available for immediate download

Video

A Sneak Peek at PROHIBITION, the upcoming PBS film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

PROHIBITION, the upcoming PBS film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the rise and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment and features Daniel Okrent, author of LAST CALL.

Read an Excerpt

More Books from this Author

What did people like Einstein do to access the inherent genius of their minds? Mind development pioneer Dr. Win Wenger noticed a clear pattern. He discovered that geniuses are little more than ordinary people who have stumbled upon a technique for widening their channels of attention. Superior thinkers may be the result of mental conditioning rather than genetic superiority. With The Einstein Factor, you can learn to condition your mind in the same way. Once you unleash the genius within, you...
Read more about this book

About the Author

Daniel Okrent

Daniel Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times, editor-at-large of Time, Inc., and managing editor of Life magazine. He worked in book publishing as an editor at Knopf and Viking, and was editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace. He was also a featured commentator on Ken Burns’s PBS series, Baseball, and is author of four books, one of which, Great Fortune, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. Okrent was also a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he remains an Associate. He lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent. They have two children.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!