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Rum-runners and Renegades

Whisky Wars of the Pacific Northwest, 1917-2012

by Rich Mole

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pacific northwest, social history
list price: $7.99
also available: Paperback
category: History
published: 2013
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Rum-Runners and Renegades: Whisky Wars of the Pacific Northwest, 1917-2012

This entertaining and informative book in the Amazing Stories series is a rollicking look at the days of prohibition on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The author explores for why temperance was deemed necessary and how it was both enforced and opposed. Plenty of action is included as bootleggers, liquor pirates and politicians play both sides and prohibition laws were upheld with home invasions and violence. Despite the consequences, there was huge money to be made in manufacturing, procuring and distributing the outlawed drink. Tales of murder, scandal and greased palms became the order of the day. The government's lack of skill in liquor management ensured bootlegging continued to flourish.

Caution: Includes descriptions of fights, shoot-outs and murders.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

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On October 1, 1917, prohibition came into effect in the province of British Columbia. Washington and Oregon had gone dry the previous year. The ban on liquor sales led to deadly conflict and legal chaos in the Pacific Northwest, and the legacy of those “booze battles” continues into the 21st century.

Rich Mole introduced readers to West Coast prohibition’s pioneer years in Scoundrels and Saloons: Whisky Wars of the Pacific Northwest, 1840–1917. In Rum-runners and Renegades, he recounts the wild and wacky—and sometimes tragic—results of later prohibition laws through the exploits of both prohibitionists and prohibition-busters, among them Jonathan Rogers, a wealthy Vancouver builder and prohibition leader; the Billingsley brothers, a quartet of handsome bootleggers from Seattle; and enterprising Johnny Schnarr, Victoria’s number-one rum-runner. From vicious marine hijackers and bedeviled police to corrupt politicians and frustrated drinkers on both sides of the border, this is an action-filled account of liquor and lawlessness on the West Coast.

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