The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy
In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he's a multi-millionaire. The press calls him "King of the Bootleggers," writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new Pontiacs for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.
Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt's bosses at the U.S. Attorney's office hired her right out of law school, assuming she'd pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It's a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of governmentand that can only end in murder.
Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.
Advance praise for The Ghosts of Eden Park
“Prose so rich and evocative, you feel you’re living the story—and full of lots of ‘I didn’t know that’ moments. Gatsby-era noir at its best.”—Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and Devil in the White City
“Few authors write as colorfully and compellingly about the past as Karen Abbott, particularly when bad behavior is involved. In The Ghosts of Eden Park, we meet the audacious, larger-than-life ‘King of the Bootleggers,’ George Remus, and the equally fascinating women who will seal his fate. Sex and greed, corruption and revenge, oceans of illegal booze—Abbott’s action-packed, riveting tale has it all.”—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin
|Edition description:||Signed Edition|
|Product dimensions:||9.30(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
KAREN ABBOTT is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City, American Rose, and, most recently, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A lot of detail to a sad story.
Gangsters, bootleggers, crime and corruption, and all in the Midwest. That is what drew me to the book. And there was plenty of that for the taking. The star of this book was George Remus, multimillionaire and known as the "King of the Bootleggers". With most of the local police in his pocket, a mansion in Cincinnati and a rebellious wife, Imogene, George owned a third of all liquor in the United States. Then with George in prison, Imogene decides to take him off his throne and she sells off most of his millions. The result - murder. This is non-fiction and very well researched. It takes you through a time and place that is little known to most people. This story of prohibition took place before even Al Capone was notorious. It tells of the rise of George Remus, his life with his wife Imogene, and through his trial. Then also of the aftermath of his imprisonment. Boring in spots when the details over ran the story, and entertaining in learning the history of Remus and his bootlegging days.
This was a very entertaining - if a bit overly detailed at times - tale about Prohibition-era America. It's a time-frame that doesn't get as much attention as it seems like it should. It was, after all, a time of capital-C Characters, on both sides of the law, as well as money, drama, crime, and secrets - normally all topics that lend themselves to fabulous storytelling. In Abbott's latest we get all of that in spades, including a fascinating peek behind the curtain of women in early 20th century American politics. It was a fascinating tale of wine, women and song and I enjoyed it - mostly. I must admit that there were several points during which I found the story to lag rather substantially though. This seems to happen a lot in narrative non-fiction that includes courtroom drama. I think authors get overly enthused by the possibility of *actual*, transcript, dialogue in the form of the back-and-forth of attorney-witness interaction and feel compelled to include as much as possible. While I appreciate historical veracity, rarely is a trial as exciting as people think - there is a LOT of monotonous repetition (intentionally), and reading large swathes of it slows the pacing to the detriment of the story even if to the benefit of the historical record. Still, Abbott has done a great job painting a portrait of a time and place that were dashing, violent, and full of enough hidden agendas to satisfy readers who enjoy a good twisty tale. If tighter editing could have evened out the pacing a bit, the narrative portions of the story (especially early on) more than hit their marks and it was an enjoyable read on the whole. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my obligation-free review copy.
I do not expect the same reading experience from a nonfiction book as I do a fictional one. Factual books can be less exciting and drag sometimes. So when I say the Karen Abbott took this nonfictional story and turned it into a great reading experience, I'm trying to impress anyone who reads this to take the chance on this book. The story starts as a rags to riches by criminal activity story. It quickly turns into a series of events that really do not seem as if they could actually have happened. Ms Abbott did an excellent job bringing her characters and their worlds into focus for the reader and giving us a snapshot of this era in history.
I read a NetGalley, pre-release version of the book. I was excited to read a different version of the George Remus story having just recently read and excellent biography of the man. This book was an ok read but felt very detached from the characters and was some what stilted in the writing. I did enjoy the snippets of testimony scattered throughout but did not relate to the characters at all.
This is the telling of the Bootleg period in American History and the Politics that surrounded it. If you enjoy this kind of narrative be sure to pick it up. I myself like more heart warming characters. "A copy of this book was provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."