America’s obsession with its own history has resulted in innumerable bestsellers. Like baseball and the Civil War, Prohibition is one of the grand American topics, and now it is the subject of Daniel Okrent’s masterful, prize-worthy tour de force.
Last Call is a narrative history of one of the most puzzling and most exciting eras in American history, the years 1920 to 1933, when the Constitution was amended to restrict human social behavior. Beginning with the liquor-soaked country that the U.S. was in the nineteenth century, Last Call explains three things: How Prohibition happened, what life under Prohibition was like, and what it did to the country. Last Call, peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety (Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and Sam Bronfman, Pierre du Pont and H.L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and Clarence Darrow) and jammed with stories from nearly all parts of the country, reveals this strange chapter in our history as never before.
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.
Richard Poe, a professional actor for more than thirty years, has appeared in numerous Broadway shows, including 1776 and M. Butterfly. On TV, he has had recurring roles on Star Trek and Frasier. His films include Born on the Fourth of July and Presumed Innocent. He is a well-known and prolific audio book performer, having narrated more than fifty books.