Starting: Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Title: Last Call
Author: Daniel Okrent
I was intrigued as I listened to an interview with author, Daniel Okrent, about his new book on NPR Fresh Air podcast. I thought I knew something about Prohibition but listening to the interview I realized how wrong I was. It was quite an alliance, "a mighty alliance of moralists and progressives, suffragists and xenophobes," each with their own goals that banded together hoping to make us a better nation.

In his new book, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Daniel Okrent explores how a confluence of political and social trends led to America's dry era. Okrent explains how both the suffrage and anti-immigration movements helped in the shaping and passage of the 18th Amendment and how Prohibition served as a stand-in for several other political issues.

"Prohibition became the same sort of political football that people on either side would use trying to struggle to get it towards their goal, which was control of the country," Okrent tells Terry Gross. "You could find a number of ways that people could come into whatever issue they wanted to use and use Prohibition as their tool."


"Somebody said at the time of Prohibition that the difference between the pro-Prohibition and the anti-Prohibition groups in the years leading up to the passage of the 21st Amendment was that the pro-Prohibition people were out there marching and organizing and voting and the anti-Prohibition people were too busy drinking to do any of those things," Okrent says. "I think that's a joke of sorts, but not entirely. That is to say, we don't fight to keep things the way they are; we fight to change things. And I think we're seeing that again today. We're seeing groups that want to change the way we live our lives in America and very few who are defending existing means of government."

As the USA Today review states, this book is "a not-so-dry history of Prohibition."

I just picked this book up at the Library and look forward to reading it!

One Response to “Starting: Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition”

  1. GaryPaulson says:

    After getting through the first 75 pages I had to return the book to the library. I now have it again and hope to get through it before I must return it again.

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