Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition by Marni Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An interesting chapter in American Jewish history with which I was unfamiliar. Davis explores Jewish involvement in the alcohol trade in nineteenth and early twentieth century America, focusing on how working in this field both helped connect Jews to the larger culture and, at the same time, worked to define a subculture. Then, with the rise of the Temperance Movement, American Jews had the experience of being on the losing side of a contentious issue that split the nation. How Prohibition influenced American Jewry - before, during, and after that "Noble Experiment" is much of the focus of the book.
The story is a compelling one, but you do have to have some investment in it to get through the book, which is written in a somewhat dry (ha ha) academic style. I enjoyed it anyway, but I wouldn't recommend it as bedtime reading.
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