The Wolfsonian–Fiu Presents Last Call The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition 5/21/10

The Wolfsonian–Fiu Presents Last Call The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition
Book Talk by Author and Former Public Editor of the New York Times, Daniel Okrent, Takes Place May 21

Join author and former public editor of The New York Times Daniel Okrent for a discussion of his latest book, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, an exploration of the virtues, failures, and politics of Prohibition, at The Wolfsonian–Florida International University on May 21, at 7pm.

Beginning with the liquor-soaked country that the U.S. was in the 19th century, Okrent explains three things: how Prohibition happened, what life under Prohibition was like, and what it did to the country—both during its reign and after. The book is overflowing with detailed portraits of the period’s notable personalities (including Sam Bronfman, H.L. Mencken, Pierre du Pont, and Billy Sunday, among many others) and stories from nearly every part of the country: smoky Manhattan speakeasies, Californian vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine, Chicago warehouses piled with smuggled Canadian whiskey, New England coastal towns that harbored bootlegging fleets of powerful speed boats armed with machine guns, and the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Okrent’s years of research—through dozens of archives and hundreds of primary sources—equipped him to reveal the creativity and lengths Americans took to preserve their great pastime, from exploiting medicinal and religious loopholes in the law to learning how to make their own (occasionally poisonous and often unpalatable) alcoholic beverages. Few people know that Prohibition gave rise to our current use of mixers with liquor, the nature of our search and seizure laws, Caribbean tourism, the first national crime syndicates, and the prominence of Coca-Cola. Furthermore, Okrent illustrates how Prohibition intersected with innumerable other elements of American history, including World War I, the advent of the income tax, the growth of the Ku Klux Klan, the rights of women, and the question of individual privacy.
A starred review from Publishers Weekly calls this look at the years 1919-1933, during which the sale and consumption of alcohol was prohibited by a constitutional amendment, “assiduously researched, well-written, and continually eye-opening.”

The book talk takes place in the auditorium and is followed by a book signing in The Dynamo Museum Shop. The event is free for Wolfsonian members, members of the Florida International University community and students, and $10 for all others.

About Daniel Okrent
Daniel Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times, editor-at-large of Time, Inc., and managing editor of Life magazine. He worked in book publishing as an editor at Knopf and Viking, and was editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace. In 2009, Okrent served as the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The author of four previous books, he lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent. They have two children.

About The Wolfsonian–Florida International University
The Wolfsonian is a museum, library, and research center that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, historical, and technological changes that have transformed our world. The collections comprise approximately 120,000 objects from the period of 1885 to 1945—the height of the Industrial Revolution to the end of the Second World War—in a variety of media including furniture; industrial-design objects; works in glass, ceramics, and metal; rare books; periodicals; ephemera; works on paper; paintings; textiles; and medals.
The Wolfsonian is located at 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for seniors, students, and children age 6 -12; and free for Wolfsonian members, State University System of Florida staff and students with ID, and children under six. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from noon-6pm; Thursday and Friday from noon-9pm; and is closed on Wednesday. Contact us at 305.531.1001 or visit us online at for further information.
The Wolfsonian receives ongoing support from The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; the William J. and Tina Rosenberg Foundation; Continental Airlines, the Official Airline of The Wolfsonian–FIU; Bacardi USA, Inc.; and Arrowood Vineyards & Winery.