The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius

The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius

by Bob Batchelor


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On the 100th anniversary of The Volstead Act comes the epic, definitive story of the man who cracked the Prohibition system, became one of the world’s richest criminal masterminds, and helped inspire The Great Gatsby.

Love, murder, political intrigue, mountains of cash, and rivers of bourbon . . . The tale of George Remus is a grand spectacle and a lens into the dark heart of Prohibition. Yes, Congress gave teeth to Prohibition in October 1919, but the law didn’t stop George Remus from amassing a fortune that would be worth billions of dollars today. As one Jazz Age journalist put it, “Remus was to bootlegging what Rockefeller was to oil.”

Author Bob Batchelor breathes life into the largest bootlegging operation in America—greater than that of Al Capone—and a man considered the best criminal defense lawyer of his era. Remus bought an empire of distilleries on Kentucky’s “Bourbon Trail” and used his other profession, as a pharmacist, to profit off legal loopholes. He spent millions bribing officials in the Harding Administration, and he created a roaring lifestyle that epitomized the Jazz Age over which he ruled.

That is, before he came crashing down in one of the most sensational murder cases in American history: a cheating wife, the G-man who seduced her and put Remus in jail, and the plunder of a Bourbon Empire. Remus murdered his wife in cold-blood and then shocked a nation winning his freedom based on a condition he invented—temporary maniacal insanity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635765861
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 137,601
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Bob Batchelor is a critically-acclaimed, bestselling cultural historian and biographer. He has published widely on American history and literature, including books on Stan Lee, Bob Dylan, The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, and John Updike. Batchelor earned his doctorate in English Literature from the University of South Florida. He teaches in the Media, Journalism & Film department at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Suzette, and their teen daughters.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Awash in Red ix

Part 1 Birth of a Bootlegger

1 Napoleon of the Bar 3

2 Illicit Relations 22

3 Birth of a Bootlegger 40

Part 2 King of the Bootleggers

4 The Bourbon Empire 63

5 Underworld Boss of Death Valley 81

6 Every Man Has His Price 95

7 Epic Grandeur 108

Part 3 Plundering an Empire

8 Ace Bags the King 121

9 Business as Usual 137

10 Life in Hell 153

11 Freedom 172

12 Heavy Lover 190

13 Plundering the Bourbon Empire 203

Part 4 A Very Dangerous Man

14 A Shot Rings Out 219

15 "Ready for the Battle-It's a Fight!" 233

16 Cutthroats and Assassins 245

17 Let's Give Him a Nice Christmas 263

Part 5 Lost Millions

18 Rise of the Gangster 285

19 Dodge's Demise 303

20 Remus v. Prohibition 315

Epilogue: Fall of the Bootleg Baron 335

Timeline 345

Acknowledgments 355

Notes 359

Index 381

About the Author 390

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