Bootleggers and Beer Barons of the Prohibition Era

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About the Book

This work is an accurate, wide-ranging, and entertaining account of the illegal liquor traffic during the Prohibition Era (1920 to 1933). Based on FBI files, legal documents, old newspapers and other sources, it offers a coast-to-coast survey of Volstead crime—outrageous stories of America’s most notorious liquor lords, including Al Capone and Dutch Schultz. Readers will find the lesser known Volstead outlaws to be as fascinating as their more famous counterparts. The riveting tales of Max Hassel, Waxy Gordon, Roy Olmstead, the Purple Gang, the Havre Bunch, and the Capitol Hill Bootlegger will be new to most readers. Likewise, the exploits of women bootleggers and flying bootleggers are unknown to most Americans. Books about Prohibition usually note that Canadian liquor exporters abetted the U.S. bootleggers, but they fail to go into detail. Bootleggers and Beer Barons examines the major cross-border routes for smuggling liquor from Canada into the U.S.: Quebec to Vermont and New York, Ontario to Michigan, Saskatchewan to Montana, and British Columbia to Washington.

About the Author(s)

J. Anne Funderburg has long focussed her research interests on the Roaring Twenties and the Volstead Era, relying on sources published during Prohibition to capture the flavor of the era. She lives in Appoquinimink Hundred, Delaware.

Bibliographic Details

J. Anne Funderburg

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 432
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7961-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1619-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Part I. The Volstead Law: King Alcohol Dethroned
1—Satan’s Best Friend, God’s Worst Enemy 3
2—Volstead 101: Prohibition Basics 11
3—Body and Soul: Hospital Whiskey and Sacramental Wine 19
Part II. The Traffickers: When Liquor Is Outlawed, Outlaws Will Have Liquor
4—Everybody’s Doing It: Breaking the Law for Fun and Profit 31
5—Hooch Haulers: Roaring thru the Twenties 40
6—Jumping the Line: The Canadian Connection 50
7—Satan’s Seat: Defying Volstead in New York City 63
8—Speakeasy Heaven: Nightlife in the Big Apple 73
9—New York’s Big Three: The Best of the Worst 84
10—Feeling the Heat: Owney Madden 98
11—Arthur Flegenheimer: The Bronx Beer Baron 107
12—Payback: The Tax Collector versus the Peculator 120
13—Famous Last Words: Bet on Mom 131
14—Mr. Smooth: Waxy Gordon 140
15—New Jersey’s Triple X: Max, Maxie, and Waxy 146
16—Smedley and Boo Boo: Prohibition in Philadelphia 161
17—Washington, D.C.: The Capitol Hill Bootlegger and the Amphibians 172
18—Country Cousins: Dew Boys and Alky Cookers 184
19—Motor On: ­High-­Octane Fuel for Detroit 197
20—Detroit’s Downriver Rumrunners 208
21—Mob Mayhem in the Wicked City 217
22—Valentine’s Day, ­Chicago-­Style 230
23—Uncle Sam versus Scarface 244
24—­Whiskey-­Six Cowboys: The Boozorium Trail and Beyond 255
25—Seattle’s Bootleg King and LSD’s Johnny Appleseed 264
26—Dutiful Wives and Desperate Mothers 275
27—Winging It: Flying Bootleggers 295
Part III. Choice versus Prohibition: The Cycle of History
28—Preserving God’s Bounty 305
29—Whiskey and Rum: America’s New Favorites 311
30—The Dry Women versus the Wet Workingmen 323
31—Corruption: Gangsters and Graft 336
32—The Enforcement Follies 346
33—Open the Spigots, Drown the Bigots: The End of the Prohibition Error 356
Glossary: Volstead Vocabulary 371
Chapter Notes 381
Bibliography 411
Index 417