prohibition

  Prohibition has long been portrayed as a “noble experiment” that failed, a newsreel story of glamorous gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. In The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, Lisa McGirr dismantles this cherished myth to reveal a much more significant history.

Prohibition was the seedbed for a pivotal expansion of the federal government, the genesis of our contemporary penal state and shows how the war on alcohol was waged disproportionately in African American, immigrant, and poor white communities. Alongside Jim Crow and other discriminatory laws, Prohibition brought coercion into everyday life and even into private homes. Its targets coalesced into an electoral base of urban, working-class voters that propelled FDR to the White House.

  Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.

Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.

One evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his parents—who have been rescued from Hitler’s Germany by the college—and brings him together with Kendall for the first time.

1933 was a banner year for lawlessness in America. Gangsters who honed their skills fighting the law during prohibition year threw their efforts into new schemes, bank robbing, extortion, and kidnapping on a nationwide scale; evading the police was often just a matter of cross a state line, but then one kidnapping changed everything. Joe Urschel tells the story in his new The Year Of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly And The Manhunt That Changed The Nation.

    When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other.

Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them.

Uncle Al Capone

Jan 17, 2013

  Deirdre Marie Capone is Al Capone's grandniece and is author of the new memoir, Uncle Al Capone - The Untold Story from Inside His Family. The book is a portrait of the Capone family and its mob trade examines what it has meant to survive the storied legacy of the family's forebears.