Smashing the Liquor Machine: A Global History of Prohibition

Tantor Audio. Feb. 2022. 29:16 hrs. ISBN 9781705281543. $34.99. HIST
Get ready to rethink and reassess everything you ever knew about Prohibition. Schrad (political science, Villanova Univ.; Vodka Politics) sets out to shed light on a side of Prohibition history that is hardly ever touched upon in history books. Schrad reframes the temperance movement as a global one that was tied up with progressivism, suffragism, antiracism, anti-imperialism, and colonialism. It is a stark departure from the common portrayal of temperance activists as conservative religious zealots and “killjoys” from rural America. On the contrary, the majority of Prohibitionists fought not just for liberation of the drunkard from the bottle, but also against oppression of the working class and other marginalized groups by the titular machine. Schrad calls attention to the contributions of Native American, Black, and urban female activists to the cause of Prohibition, often at great personal risk.
VERDICT This is comparative history at its best. Narrator Tom Perkins does a brilliant job bringing the voices of historical figures, which are at times unbelievable and hilarious, to life.
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