Book Review: Deliver Us From Evil

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Book Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:00 pm

Deliver Us From Evil: An Interpretation of American Prohibition, by Norman H. Clark. New York: W W Norton & Co., 1976. Contents, Index, Bibliography, pp. 246.

This book is a sympathetic look at prohibition yet it still doesn't hide the fact that prohibition was just a bad idea. The author is a fairly interesting writer and the book is not a bad read. It would have been nice if he had used footnotes but at least he does acknowledge his sources at the end of the book.

This book looks at prohibition and how it comes about in the United States. The first third of the book looks at early temperance movements and how they gained political power during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This power came about not only by combating alcohol, but by also using the urban versus rural conflict that was going on at the time. As the 19th century came to an end, cities were getting bigger and had more political power than ever before. Much of the political power came from immigrants and these new Americans often met in their neighborhood saloon or tavern for social functions. Controlling the saloon controlled the vote. Prohibitionist were able to play upon American prejudice to attack the urban saloon.

The book spends some time discussing prohibition and the attempts to enforce the law. The law was doomed to fail because it depended upon the states to pay for enforcement and some states, such as New York, refused to do so. The book ends with the growth of the repeal movement and the legacies left behind by prohibition.

The book is a good one to have in a bourbon library. It has a lot of interesting social history behind the prohibition movement and is written from a sympathetic point of view towards the prohibitionist. It can really help the reader to ubderstand just how wrong these social reformers really were.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby jbohan » Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:08 pm

Mike,

I read a review of a book written by a historian (of course I don't remember the name of the book or the author) that dealt with drinking throughout the 1800's and into the early 1900's. If I remember correctly, she figured out that most men were drunk during most fo the hours each day. I will try to found out the name of the book, you may already be aware of it. Thanks for keeping us all educated. :thumbright: :thumbleft:
To long ashes and long finishes
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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:06 pm

Alcohol consumption was higher back then because it was deeper in the American Culture. There was no TV or cumputers and people used bars and saloons as social gathering places. It was also discovered that irf you mixed your river water with whiskey, you did not get as sick as if you drank your river water straight. Alcohol was medicine in a world with very few real medicines as we know today.

Even so, I doubt that people were any more drunk then than they are today. I do know that the number of people drinking actually went up during prohibition.

Mike Veach
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