Nothing but clear, 100-proof American history.
Hooch. White lightning. White whiskey. Mountain dew. Moonshine goes by many names. So what is it, really? Technically speaking, "moonshine" refers to untaxed liquor made in an unlicensed still. In the United States, it’s typically corn that’s used to make the clear, unaged beverage, and it’s the mountain people of the American South who are most closely associated with the image of making and selling backwoods booze at night—by the light of the moon—to avoid detection by law enforcement.
In this book, writer Jaime Joyce explores America’s centuries-old relationship with moonshine. From the country’s early adoption of Scottish and Irish home-distilling techniques and traditions to the Whiskey Rebellion of the late 1700s to a comparison of the moonshine industry pre- and post-Prohibition and a look at modern-day craft distilling, Joyce examines the historical context that gave rise to moonshining in America and explores its continued appeal. Even more fascinating than the popularity of the liquor itself is moonshine’s widespread effect on U.S. pop culture: moonshine runners were NASCAR’s first marquee drivers; white whiskey was the unspoken star of countless Hollywood film and television productions; and numerous songs inspired by making shine have come from such musicians as Dolly Parton, Steve Earle, Metallica, Ween, and others. While we can’t condone making your own illegal liquor, reading Moonshine will give you a new perspective on the profound implications that underground moonshine making has had on life in America.
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About the Author
Jaime Joyce's work has appeared in Saveur, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, and the online edition of The Atlantic as well as on the Big Roundtable, a website for long-form narrative nonfiction. She earned master's degrees at Bank Street College of Education and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she was awarded the Lynton Book Writing Fellowship. She is an editor at Time Inc.Website: http://jaimejoyce.comTwitter: @jaime_joyce
Table of Contents
Prologue: Bangin' In the Woods 6
1 "The Pernicious Practice of Distilling" in Early America 16
2 Whiskey Rebels, "Watermelon Armies," and President Washington 28
3 War on Whiskey: Taxing Liquor and Defying the Law in the 1800s 42
4 Prohibition's Rise and Fall, and What Happened in Between 60
5 Moonshine on Trial 74
6 "Death Defying Ding-Dong Daddies from the Realm of Speed": Moonshine and the Birth of NASCAR 88
7 "Popskull Crackdown" 106
8 Moonshine Renaissance 122
9 Making Mountain Dew 142
10 Moonshine in Pop Culture 154
Epilogue: Moonshiners Reunion 168
Notes & Sources 177
Photo & Music Credits 200
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