Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Release: Lawson, "Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws"

New from SUNY Press: Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws: Prohibition and New York City, by Ellen NicKenzie Lawson. The Press explains:
With the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, “drying up” New York City promised to be the greatest triumph of the proponents of Prohibition. Instead, the city remained the nation’s greatest liquor market. Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws focuses on liquor smuggling to tell the story of Prohibition in New York City. Using previously unstudied Coast Guard records from 1920 to 1933 for New York City and environs, Ellen NicKenzie Lawson examines the development of Rum Row and smuggling via the coasts of Long Island, the Long Island Sound, the Jersey shore, and along the Hudson and East Rivers. Lawson demonstrates how smuggling syndicates on the Lower East Side, the West Side, and Little Italy contributed to the emergence of the Broadway Mob. She also explores New York City’s scofflaw population—patrons of thirty thousand speakeasies and five hundred nightclubs—as well as how politicians Fiorello La Guardia, James “Jimmy” Walker, Nicholas Murray Butler, Pauline Morton Sabin, and Al Smith articulated their views on Prohibition to the nation. Lawson argues that in their assertion of the freedom to drink alcohol for enjoyment, New York’s smugglers, bootleggers, and scofflaws belong in the American tradition of defending liberty. The result was the historically unprecedented step of repeal of a constitutional amendment with passage of the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.
A few blurbs:

“More than five thousand miles of coastline and only two hundred vessels to monitor smuggling activities—a situation ripe for creative and often humorous actions on both sides of the law! Mining Prohibition-era Coast Guard records at the National Archives, Ellen NicKenzie Lawson tells the story of how New York City, the greatest liquor market before Prohibition, retained its title. Cases of whiskey hidden under tons of freshly caught fish, smugglers masquerading as yachtsmen, law enforcement officials on the take, and the birth of the liquor smuggling syndicate are all documented in this impressive volume. Enlightening and entertaining.” — David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration

“Prohibition looms large in our national imagination. Yet, as Ellen Lawson has found, the central role of smuggling has been less studied. By mining National Archives records of vessels seized by the Coast Guard, Lawson gives us a vivid and fresh examination of the rum-running era in New York City’s history.” — Field Horne, Chair (2001–2012), Conference on New York State History
The Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
Author’s Note
1. Rum Row
2. Along the Shore
3. Landfall Manhattan
4. The Broadway Mob
5. Scofflaw City
6. Repeal
7. Manahactanienk
Appendix: Selected Primary Documents