Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Prohibition was so stupid.
Quick synopsis: The story of George Remus, a famous bootlegger who became famous for something else afterwards.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: George Remus was the “king of the bootleggers” and at one point owned one seventh of the bonded liquor in America.
Fun Fact for History Nerds: George Remus named his daughter Romola. What a dork. If you don’t get it, ask a friend versed in Roman history.
My Take: Prohibition was one of the dumbest things America ever did. First is slavery, second is Prohibition. Third is probably country music. Fight me.
Anyway, George Remus was a very successful attorney. He was the jazz age version of the overly effusive guest lawyers you would see on Law & Order. He wailed, he cried, he trashed around the courtroom. He got bored and Prohibition came along. He decided to become a bootlegger and damnit if he wasn’t really good at it!
Of course, as with any truly successful kingpin, he got caught. The story then focuses on his wife and a few other people whom I won’t spoil. No one in the story is particularly heroic. This is more a “Breaking Bad” kind of story.
It’s a really easy read and a great start if you want to dip your toe into historical true crime.
Verdict: A really breezy read although you won’t find many heroes in this story. Read it if you love true crime or the time period.
If You Liked This Try:
- Simon Baatz, The Girl in the Velvet Swing
- Skip Hollandsworth, The Midnight Assassin
- Gregg Olsen, Starvation Heights
- Douglas Starr, The Killer of Little Shepherds
- Hallie Rubenhold, The Five
- J. Robinson, Mystery on the Isle of Shoals
- Miriam Davis, The Axeman of New Orleans