The Bourbon King
The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius
by Bob Batchelor
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 03 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 03 Sep 2019
In October 1919, Congress gave teeth to Prohibition. But the law didn't stop George Remus from amassing a fortune that would be worth billions of dollars today. As one Jazz Age journalist put it, "Remus was to bootlegging what Rockefeller was to oil."
Author Bob Batchelor breathes life into the largest illegal booze operation in America—greater than that of Al Capone—and a man considered the best criminal defense lawyer of his era. Remus bought an empire of distilleries on Kentucky’s “Bourbon Trail” and used his other profession, as a pharmacist, to profit off legal loopholes. He spent millions bribing officials in the Harding Administration, and he created a roaring lifestyle that epitomized the Jazz Age over which he ruled.
That is, before he came crashing down in one of the most sensational murder cases in American history: a cheating wife, the G-man who seduced her and put Remus in jail, and the plunder of a Bourbon Empire. Remus murdered his wife in cold-blood and then shocked a nation, winning his freedom based on a condition he invented—temporary maniacal insanity.
Love, murder, political intrigue, mountains of cash, and rivers of bourbon…the tale of George Remus is a grand spectacle and a lens into the dark heart of Prohibition.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 6 members
I read a NetGalley early release copy of the book. I am a history buff with a special interest in the early 20th Century. I am familiar with the history of Chicago during Prohibition but knew little of the activities in the South. I found the Bourbon King to be well written and engaging. By the time I completed the book, I felt that I knew the main characters and had a better understanding of the period. This is not a book that is a quick read, however, the attention to detail, the storytelling, and the look at the methods and motivation of the main characters made it worth staying up late every night to compete.