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Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition Paperback – May 31 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (May 31 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074327704X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277044
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"This is history served the way one likes it, with scholarly authority and literary grace. "Last Call" is a fascinating portrait of an era and a very entertaining tale."

--Tracy Kidder

“Last Call is--I can't help it--a high, an upper, a delicious cocktail of a book, served with a twist or two and plenty of punch.”

—Evan Thomas, "Newsweek"

“Daniel Okrent's" Last Call" is filled with delightful details, colorful characters, and fascinating social insights. And what a great tale! Prohibition may not have been a lot of fun, but this book sure is.”

—Walter Isaacson

“A triumph. Okrent brilliantly captures the one glaring 'whoops!' in our Constitutional history. This entertaining portrait should stimulate fresh thought on the capacity and purpose of free government.”

--Taylor Branch

“Daniel Okrent's "Last Call" fills a gaping void in American popular history that has been waiting for years to be filled, by providing a clear, sweeping, detailed and immensely readable account of Prohibition. His book is full of lively stories, incredible characters and fascinating research. It is, at once, great fun to read and solid history, a rare combination." –[trimmed quote still needsapproval]

—Michael Korda, author of "Ulysses S. Grant, " "Ike", and "With Wings Like Eagles"

“This is a marvelous and lively social history, one that manages to be both scholarly and exciting. Okrent takes us through a period of American history unlike any other. Fair-minded, insightful, and amused, he has a command of the material that makes the journey rewarding at every sober step of the way. I loved this book.”

--Lawrence Wright, author, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"

"Daniel Okrent's "Last Call" fills a gaping void in American popular history that has been waiting for years to be filled, by providing a clear, sweeping, detailed and immensely readable account of Prohibition. His book is full of lively stories, incredible characters and fascinating research. It is, at once, great fun to read and solid history, a rare combination." -[trimmed quote still needsapproval]

--Michael Korda, author of "Ulysses S. Grant, ""Ike", and "With Wings Like Eagles"

"Last Call is--I can't help it--a high, an upper, a delicious cocktail of a book, served with a twist or two and plenty of punch."

--Evan Thomas, "Newsweek"

"This is a marvelous and lively social history, one that manages to be both scholarly and exciting. Okrent takes us through a period of American history unlike any other. Fair-minded, insightful, and amused, he has a command of the material that makes the journey rewarding at every sober step of the way. I loved this book."

--Lawrence Wright, author, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"

"Daniel Okrent's" Last Call" is filled with delightful details, colorful characters, and fascinating social insights. And what a great tale! Prohibition may not have been a lot of fun, but this book sure is."

--Walter Isaacson

"A triumph. Okrent brilliantly captures the one glaring 'whoops!' in our Constitutional history. This entertaining portrait should stimulate fresh thought on the capacity and purpose of free government."

--Taylor Branch

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By C. J. Thompson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Jan. 3 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to this book when I ordered it but I was ultimately disappointed. There were a few (a very few) passages that were witty or otherwise enjoyable but the vast bulk of the book was dull, plodding and dry. I kept on finding my mind wandering as I struggled through it and after about three-quarters of the way through I finally gave up. The bibliography refers to a book by the name of Ardent spirits : the rise and fall of prohibition / by John Kobler. That is an excellent book... the sort of page turner I hoped this one would be.
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Format: Audio CD
"Last Call" is a comprehensive study of the phenomenon known as Prohibition. Author Daniel Okrent studies what drew it into being, the life it lived and what led to its repeal. The story of how Prohibition interplayed with so many other trends of its day and how it affected the development of our country is fascinating.

Did you ever wonder how the German-American brewing families incurred the wrath of Americans, and learned their lesson? Did you ever contemplate how the banning of liquor made the income tax necessary, and palatable? Did you ever think about the influence of women's suffrage and the timing driven by the impending redistricting after the 1920 census? What arguments did World War I give to the proponents of Prohibition? Did it ever occur to you that all amendments prior to the Eighteenth limited the actions of government whereas it extended government involvement in daily life, establishing a precedent that would follow a million courses to today? This book leads the reader through those questions and more.

This book also explains some of the changes that Prohibition brought to our corporate world, such as the rise of Seagram's from the sales made to middlemen who smuggled its products into the United States, to the explosion of Walgreens in the age of medicinal alcohol. The increased demand for sacramental wine would seem to suggest a sudden burst of religious fervor, but merely masked a sacrilegious hypocrisy.

Ultimately Prohibition would fall in a changed country, a country in which the flaunting of the law became an industry in itself. Although repeal had been deemed impossible, it came as rapidly as had the adoption. Although gone, Prohibition's influence remains unto this day.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I have not read many books on this subject I think Mr. Okrent's book will stand as one of the leading pieces on the period. The research to put this book together appears formidable and should be appreciated by the reader. Mr Okrent has stayed away from the overly romantic stories off the period and presented a more factual approach, although you will find references and discussion around Al Capone the focus is clearly on the political and social events that caused this unique period in American history. I enjoyed the book and now that it is publicized as a reference guide for some upcoming HBO shows I think other writers can take the data and weave some very interesting stories to add more color to this period in history.
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