Carry A. Nation was 6-feet tall, “had the face of a prison warden” and liked to smash up bars with a hatchet. She was also a well-published leader of one of the most profound movements in American history—the era of prohibition. Daniel Okrent, the first public editor for the New York Times and a former managing editor of Life magazine, brings a fresh, comprehensive look at this unique time in U.S. history with Last Call, a book that will also be featured in a Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary about prohibition that is to air in 2011. Characters range from Nation, to presidents, to power brokers with unbelievable sway, such as Wayne B. Wheeler of the Anti-Saloon League on the “dry” side and John J. Raskob, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who would push back for the “wet.” Last Call examines not only the paradoxes of the time but, more importantly, the changes in politics that brought the government into our homes and redefined business as usual. “Prohibition wasn’t just about liquor,” says Okrent. “It was, in truth, about the relationship between citizens and government.” (First appeared in our Spring & Summer Preview.)
For a list of all the best nonfiction books of 2010, click here.
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Scribner / May / 9780743277020 / $35.00
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010