CYCLONE CARRY by Carleton Beals


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The author of this lengthy biography and its formidable protagonist, Carry Nation, first met in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, when he was an infant and the saloon-smashing, hatchet-wielding Carry was his unpaid baby-sister; now, many years and many books later, he has written the story of her life. An exhibitionist in the name of the Lord and an American phenomenon of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, through her one-woman campaign against the Demon Rum, Carry Nation left a mark on this country that still persists. Born in 1846, with a mentally unbalanced mother and a draggingly unsuccessful father, she grew up in Kansas and Texas, suffering as a child from psychotic illnesses and a sense of sin that never left her. Humorless and basically kind-hearted she was twice married, first to an alcoholic by whom she had a mentally deficient daughter, then to an ineffectual preacher, David Nation, whom she later left. Possessing a blind faith in the Bible and her own righteousness and endowed with a magnificent sense of publicity, Carry began he campaign against Rum and cigarettes in Kansas, holding street prayers outside saloons; when the Lord told her to smash saloons she did so with her famous hatchet, to the terror of saloon-keepers, drunkards and the police who were forced, many times, to arrest her. She lectured widely, appeared in vaudeville, tangled with clergymen, senators and presidents; dying in 1911, she left as a delayed legacy, the Prohibition act and its resulting evils. Written with a wry sympathy, this anecdotal and somewhat fictionized story of a courageous and fanatical woman will appeal to students of the Prohibition movement, to members of the W.C.T.U., and to addicts of American biography, in particular those who remember the furor once raised by Carry Nation and her hatchet.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1962
Publisher: Chilton