The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott

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
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The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott
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