March 8, 2012

The Prohibition Hangover ***

*** The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet, Garrett Peck, 2009

I picked this book up after I released What Would Jesus Drink, hoping it would give me some insight into how we could go from a 1789 Baptist minister owning a distillery and possibly having a hand in inventing bourbon to the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention making a resolution that no one be allowed a position in the organization if they drink.

As it turned out, the book was helpful in that it documents the rise and fall of the temperance movement that highjacked several Protestant denominations and turned them into anti-scriptural prohibitionists. It also discusses Prohibition and the years following. There's a lot of interesting information in this book.

There were a few parts I found less interesting, such as extended discussions of the business aspects of the wine, beer and liquor industries and markets, down to discussing specific companies for extended periods of time. There are several places where Peck apparently states some suppositions or conclusions of his own without qualifying them as such. Also, he makes space for the occasional fit of editorializing and moralizing, ending the book with some serious call-to-action language. I agree with many of his views, but I was looking more for historical and sociological information than opinions.

Still, a worthy read for those interested in the topic.

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