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Last Call
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About the Author

Daniel Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times, editor-at-large of Time, Inc., and managing editor of Life magazine. He worked in book publishing as an editor at Knopf and Viking, and was editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace. He was also a featured commentator on two Ken Burns series, and his books include Last Call, The Guarded Gate, and Great Fortune, which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. He lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent.

Reviews

Kevin Baker is the coauthor, most recently, of Luna Park, a graphic novel published last month by DC Comics. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

While the story of Prohibition (1919-33) is not suspenseful, since we know how this social experiment turned out, Okrent (former public editor, New York Times) helpfully fills in details, explanations, and lessons to be learned while supplementing the familiar story of how legislated temperance did not succeed. He mines archival and published sources and adds memories acquired through interviews and reference to previously unavailable private papers. Okrent emphasizes that the 18th Amendment was a long time coming, passed by the efforts of progressives, populists, nativists, and other morally motivated reformers. Temporarily ending the fifth-largest industry in America, Prohibition transformed the alcoholic beverage business as well as American culture generally. Okrent admits that, although Prohibition promoted criminality and hypocrisy, it did cut the rate of alcohol consumption. He book-ends his work with historical explications of Prohibition's enactment and its eventual demise owing to lack of both sufficient political will and enforcement funds. VERDICT While there are other Prohibition narratives, e.g., Michael Lerner's ably done Dry Manhattan, acknowledged by Okrent, this sprightly written and thoroughly annotated work is recommended for both the general reader, to whom it is directed, and the scholar.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"This is history served the way one likes it, with scholarly authority and literary grace. "Last Call" is a fascinating portrait of an era and a very entertaining tale."

--Tracy Kidder


"Last Call is--I can't help it--a high, an upper, a delicious cocktail of a book, served with a twist or two and plenty of punch."

-Evan Thomas, "Newsweek"


"Daniel Okrent's" Last Call" is filled with delightful details, colorful characters, and fascinating social insights. And what a great tale! Prohibition may not have been a lot of fun, but this book sure is."

-Walter Isaacson


"A triumph. Okrent brilliantly captures the one glaring 'whoops!' in our Constitutional history. This entertaining portrait should stimulate fresh thought on the capacity and purpose of free government."

--Taylor Branch


"Daniel Okrent's "Last Call" fills a gaping void in American popular history that has been waiting for years to be filled, by providing a clear, sweeping, detailed and immensely readable account of Prohibition. His book is full of lively stories, incredible characters and fascinating research. It is, at once, great fun to read and solid history, a rare combination." -[trimmed quote still needsapproval]

-Michael Korda, author of "Ulysses S. Grant, " "Ike", and "With Wings Like Eagles"


"This is a marvelous and lively social history, one that manages to be both scholarly and exciting. Okrent takes us through a period of American history unlike any other. Fair-minded, insightful, and amused, he has a command of the material that makes the journey rewarding at every sober step of the way. I loved this book."

--Lawrence Wright, author, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"


"Daniel Okrent's "Last Call" fills a gaping void in American popular history that has been waiting for years to be filled, by providing a clear, sweeping, detailed and immensely readable account of Prohibition. His book is full of lively stories, incredible characters and fascinating research. It is, at once, great fun to read and solid history, a rare combination." -[trimmed quote still needsapproval]

--Michael Korda, author of "Ulysses S. Grant, ""Ike", and "With Wings Like Eagles"


"Last Call is--I can't help it--a high, an upper, a delicious cocktail of a book, served with a twist or two and plenty of punch."

--Evan Thomas, "Newsweek"


"This is a marvelous and lively social history, one that manages to be both scholarly and exciting. Okrent takes us through a period of American history unlike any other. Fair-minded, insightful, and amused, he has a command of the material that makes the journey rewarding at every sober step of the way. I loved this book."

--Lawrence Wright, author, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"


"Daniel Okrent's" Last Call" is filled with delightful details, colorful characters, and fascinating social insights. And what a great tale! Prohibition may not have been a lot of fun, but this book sure is."

--Walter Isaacson


"A triumph. Okrent brilliantly captures the one glaring 'whoops!' in our Constitutional history. This entertaining portrait should stimulate fresh thought on the capacity and purpose of free government."

--Taylor Branch

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