Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Last Call

I'm reading a book right now that is a must-read for anyone who is interested in history. Or human nature.

It's titled Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, and it's one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. Prior to starting this book, I vaguely knew about Prohibition, but also assumed that because it lasted a relatively short time, it was inconsequential.

Boy, was I wrong. Totally, totally wrong.

Women's suffrage? That happened as a build-up to the Prohibition amendent. Income tax? The same--that 40% of federal revenue obtained from liquor taxes needed to be replaced before the Prohibition amendment could be passed.

It's absolutely incredible how many things we take for granted today happened because of Prohibition. Even the 12-mile territorial limit was initially enacted because of Prohibition.

Reading about how Prohibition shaped history makes for utterly fascinating reading. Plus, the wording of the 18th Amendment made getting around the amendment into a challenging strategy game. There were three exceptions: hard cider (so farmers who were vehemently in favor of Prohibition could still get drunk off their asses on cider year-round), sacramental wine (boy, a lot of people suddenly became Catholics), and "medicinal purposes" (the AMA had declared alcohol to be of absolutely no value in treating any condition in 1917, but miraculously, in 1921, they suddenly discovered plenty of conditions that alcohol improved).

Like I said, it's fascinating reading, and on almost every page I see something that blows my mind. It's also incredibly well-written and thorough.

If you've enjoyed any of the books that I've recommended in the past, then go purchase this immediately. You won't be sorry.

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