WAR IN ILLINOIS by Donald Bain


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Yet another book about Prohibition, this time in rural Illinois, where rival gangs of bootleggers fought for supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan was charged with keeping order. One gang went so far as to bomb their rival's headquarters from an airplane, and it was this incident which led Donald Bain--whose earlier efforts included another sort of airplane saga, Coffee, Tea, or Me--to investigate the whole period. Unfortunately, the airplane bombing is not strong enough to support an entire book, especially since it is buried some 200 pages into this over-long tale. It's Charlie Birger's gang vs. the Shelton Brothers, against a backdrop of murders and Klan raids, with popular support on the side of the Klan. When a number of Klansmen are indicted for everything from malicious mischief to assault with intent to murder, 3,000 townspeople rally at a local church and post over $3 million in bonds ""for the accused."" This book started out to be a novel, and while Bain admits to taking ""certain liberties with putting words in my characters' mouths"" and to compressing time, he swears the facts are true, based on research in Southern Illinois libraries. The problem is that, true or juiced up, the book has nothing to say.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1978
Publisher: Prentice-Hall