Temperance to Excess, by David Oshinsky (New York Times Sunday Book Review)
... Okrent resists the chance to link Prohibition to the current political scene. But the comparisons are tempting, to say the least. About a century ago, a group of determined activists mobilized to confront the moral decay they claimed was destroying their country. Their public demon was alcohol, but their real enemy was an alien culture reflected by city dwellers, recent immigrants and educated elites. Always a minority, the forces of Prohibition drove the political agenda by concentrating relentlessly on their goal, voting in lockstep on a single issue and threatening politicians who did not sufficiently back their demands. They triumphed because they faced no organized opposition. Americans were too distracted — perhaps too busy drinking — to notice what they had lost ...
Monday, May 24, 2010
Prohibition: "Millions of otherwise honest citizens routinely flouted the law."
Looking for a sobering account of the carnage inflicted by "small-town white Protestants" running amok? You know: The type tending to populate mega-churches where the regional economic development mob likes to congregate, ignoring the separation of church and state? This book, "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," written by Daniel Okrent, sounds like a wonderful exposition of the excesses of doltery, fear and godliness, not necessarily in that order.