DRY WE WERE: Prohibition Revisited by Henry Lee

DRY WE WERE: Prohibition Revisited

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KIRKUS REVIEW

H. L. Mencken observed: ""All the great villainies of history have been perpetrated by sober men, and chiefly by teetotallers"". How Dry We Were is a loving look backward at the times of Prohibition, when Mencken's pronouncement had the gripping force of a slogan by Marx. The preposterous social folly of ""the Great Experiment"" grew out of an historical phenomenon: when the first settlers came here, they had no good medicines, anesthetics, entertainment or relief from miseries of minimal existence. They DRANK. Mr. Lee traces the history of U.S. liquor consumption through the centuries, down to that fateful day, January 16, 1920, when the great law went into effect. Then comes an unparalleled eruption of legal disorder. Police accept ""clean graft"". Mobs swell. Smuggling burgeons and speakeasies number in the several hundreds of thousands. More ""characters"" abound than a team of Fitzgeralds could handle, to personalize some minor social history. Not recommended for anyone on the wagon; otherwise- what's yer poison?

Pub Date: April 25th, 1963
Publisher: Prentice-Hall