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Diversion (2019-09-03)
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Politics & government


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

by Batchelor, Bob

In THE BOURBON KING, author Bob Batchelor has unearthed a treasure trove of untapped historical archives to cover the life, times, and crimes of the George Remus, the man who ran the largest bootlegging operation in America - larger and more powerful than that of Al Capone - and a man who was considered the best criminal defense lawyer of his era.

He bought an empire of distilleries on "The Bourbon Trail" and used his other profession, as a pharmacist, to profit off loopholes in the law. He spent hundreds of millions bribing government officials in the Harding Administration, directly tied to Attorney General Harry Daugherty and Harding's "Ohio Gang." Remus amassed a fortune that eclipsed $200 million (the equivalent of $4.75 billion today.) And he created a roaring, opulent lifestyle that epitomized the Jazz Age over which he ruled. So extravagant was this Bourbon King's lifestyle that his lush parties served as an inspiration for The Great Gatsby. As eminent documentarian Ken Burns proclaimed, "Remus was to bootlegging what Rockefeller was to oil."

But Remus came crashing down in one of the most sensational murder cases in American history. After serving a brief prison sentence, he was driven mad by his cheating wife Imogene and Franklin Dodge, the G-man who not only put him in jail, but also seduced her before stealing all his riches. Remus murdered his wife in cold-blood, setting loose the most media-saturated trial of the Jazz Age. Claiming a condition that he invented - temporary maniacal insanity - Remus took on Charles Taft, son of former President and current Chief Justice William Howard Taft, in a trial that grabbed national headlines. Remus won over the star-struck jury with lurid allegations about his lost millions at the hands of his two-timing wife and the federal agent who stole her away.

Love, murder, mountains of cash, bribery, political intrigue, rivers of bourbon, and a grand spectacle like few before it, the tale of George Remus transcends the era and provides readers with a lens into the dark heart of Prohibition's "Bourbon Trail," the thirst of the American people, and their fascination with crime.

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The roaring '20s glisten with vice and danger in this fast-paced portrait of prolific bootlegger George Remus... Larger-than-life characters take the reins of this story, a rip-roaring good time for any American history buff or true-crime fan.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

Death and deception! Money and mayhem! Murder in broad daylight! The trial of the century! With THE BOURBON KING, Bob Batchelor brings us a story that seems ripped from the tabloids, except it all happens to be true. Batchelor tells the story of George Remus, one of the world's most notorious bootleggers, with verve and pizzazz worthy of the the gangster movies of Hollywood's Golden Era. You'll wonder why you've never heard the story before - and in the hands of Batchelor, you won't be able to put it down. While it's a serious contribution to American lore, ultimately THE BOURBON KING is Batchelor doing what he does best: bringing a fresh and exciting perspective to America's pop-culture figures, no matter how notorious.

Quote: Brian Jay Jones, author

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