The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet

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Overview

Spirits are all the rage today. Two-thirds of Americans drink, whether they enjoy higher priced call brands or more moderately priced favorites. From fine dining and piano bars to baseball games and backyard barbeques, drinks are part of every social occasion.

In The Prohibition Hangover, Garrett Peck explores the often-contradictory social history of alcohol in America, from the end of Prohibition in 1933 to the twenty-first century. For Peck, Repeal left American society wondering whether alcohol was a consumer product or a controlled substance, an accepted staple of social culture or a danger to society. Today the legal drinking age, binge drinking, the neoprohibitionist movement led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the 2005 Supreme Court decision in Granholm v. Heald that rejected discriminatory curbs on wine sales, the health benefits of red wine, advertising, and other issues remain highly contested.

Based on primary research, including hundreds of interviews with those on all sides—clergy, bar and restaurant owners, public health advocates, citizen crusaders, industry representatives, and more—as well as secondary sources, The Prohibition Hangover provides a panoramic assessment of alcohol in American culture. Traveling through the California wine country, the beer barrel backroads of New England and Pennsylvania, and the blue hills of Kentucky's bourbon trail, Peck places the concerns surrounding alcohol use within the broader context of American history, religious traditions, and governance.

Society is constantly evolving, and so are our drinking habits. Cutting through the froth and discarding the maraschino cherries, The Prohibition Hangover examines the modern American temperament toward drink amid the $189-billion-dollar-a-year industry that defines itself by the production, distribution, marketing, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"For journalist Peck, Prohibition is like a bad hangover from which the US has never fully recovered, and he proves that the alcohol controversy has never gone away. The author provides an excellent overview of alcohol in the US since the Prohibition Era. He closely examines the development of the wine, beer, and distilled spirits trades, including the rise of wine and whiskey tourism and controversies regarding alcohol advertising. Peck examines the social implications of efforts to combat alcohol, especially the effects of the Mothers against Drunk Driving campaigns. He concludes that there should be more emphasis on teaching young people about responsible drinking; though it will be controversial, he makes a convincing case to lower the national drinking age to 18. Highly recommended."
The Historian
"A well-written study of the contemporary liquor industry."
University of Washington

"Garrett Peck provides a clear, concise, and stimulating overview about alcohol use and alcohol policy in the United States since Repeal in 1933. The book deftly combines careful research, excellent story-telling, and strong opinions about strong drink."

— William Rorabaugh

Trinity College

"The Prohibition Hangover is an excellent book in every way: it is well researched, thoughtful, and entertaining to read. From discussions of policies since Prohibition to Americans' tastes for drinks throughout the decades, this book will appeal to anyone interested in alcohol."

— Edward Stringham

Trinity College and author of No Booze? You May Lose

"The Prohibition Hangover is an excellent book in every way: it is well researched, thoughtful, and entertaining to read. From discussions of policies since Prohibition to Americans' tastes for drinks throughout the decades, this book will appeal to anyone interested in alcohol."

— Edward Stringham

University of Washington and author of The Alcoholic Republic - William Rorabaugh
"Garrett Peck provides a clear, concise, and stimulating overview about alcohol use and alcohol policy in the United States since Repeal in 1933. The book deftly combines careful research, excellent story-telling, and strong opinions about strong drink."
Trinity College and author of No Booze? You May Lose - Edward Stringham
"The Prohibition Hangover is an excellent book in every way: it is well researched, thoughtful, and entertaining to read. From discussions of policies since Prohibition to Americans' tastes for drinks throughout the decades, this book will appeal to anyone interested in alcohol."
President Emeritus, Middlebury College - John M. McCardell
"The adage that 'history repeats itself' has special meaning when applied to Americans' experience with alcohol. At various times in our past, Americans have tried Prohibition, and each time learned, or re-learned, the hard lesson that it doesn't work. Yes, fewer people drink during periods of Prohibition; what ought we to expect, after all? But those choosing to drink, and there are many, drink more irresponsibly and are forced by the law into dangerous, clandestine environments, where health and even life are put at greater risk. For young adults age 18-20 today, a culture of Prohibition has produced these same, utterly predictable results. Kudos to Garrett Peck for advancing this unpleasant yet unassailable truth, and doing so with a convincing combination of fact and style. Impeccably researched and written in a most engaging style, The Prohibition Hangover, brings us face-to-face with those who would have us continue down their own preferred paths of righteousness, and shows us how, far too often, those paths traverse the valley of the shadow of death."
industry executive - Dan Tearno
"Garrett Peck effectively captures the essence of America's love/hate relationship with alcohol beverages. While some of his conclusions are controversial, his book is well-written and comprehensive."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813545929
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Garrett Peck is a freelance journalist who has written mostly within the alcohol industry trade circles. Based in Washington, D.C., he also regularly conducts tours of historic sites that hold a significant place in the temperance movement in and around the district.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Ch. 1 The Noble Experiment 8

Ch. 2 So What Are We Drinking? 25

Ch. 3 Whiskey and Rye 53

Ch. 4 Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer 78

Ch. 5 The Golden Age of Wine 100

Ch. 6 The Supreme Court Decides 138

Ch. 7 Alcohol and Your Health 158

Ch. 8 What Would Jesus Drink? 179

Ch. 9 Beating the Temperance Drum 198

Ch. 10 Not until You're Twenty-one 230

Conclusions 257

Notes 271

Index 295

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