Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

by Karen Blumenthal

Square Fish



Trade Paperback

It began with the best of intentions. Worried about the effects of alcohol on American families, mothers and civic leaders started a movement to outlaw drinking in public places. Over time, their protests, petitions, and activism paid off—when a Constitutional Amendment banning the sale and consumption of alcohol was ratified, it was hailed as the end of public drunkenness, alcoholism, and a host of other social ills related to booze. Instead, it began a decade of lawlessness, when children smuggled (and drank) illegal alcohol, the most upright citizens casually broke the law, and a host of notorious gangsters entered the public eye. Filled with period art and photographs, anecdotes, and portraits of unique characters from the era, this fascinating book looks at the rise and fall of the disastrous social experiment known as Prohibition.

Karen Blumenthal's Bootleg is a 2011 Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year title.
One of School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011.
YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist in 2012.

ALA Notable Children's Books, Arizona Grand Canyon Young Readers Maste, New Jersey Garden State Children's Book Award, American Library Association Notable Children's Books, Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens


BOOTLEG (Chapter 1)The Little Sheppard
LOOKING BACK on the childhood of Morris Sheppard, you can see glimmers of a budding statesman, the kind of earnest political leader who would want to make a big difference in the world.

Born in 1875,...


Praise for Bootleg

“* A fast-paced, gripping narrative . . . An informative, insightful account of a fascinating period of American history.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“* Gangsters, guns, and political battles--this book has them all--and presents them in compelling prose . . . a lively read.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“* Lively anecdotes and personal stories keep the reading brisk and often quite jovial.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

“* . . . a highly readable, well-shaped look at the Eighteenth Amendment . . . a top-notch resource.” —Booklist, starred review

“The scope is ambitious, but Blumenthal investigates various tangents with telling anecdotes, quotes, statistics, photographs, and illustrations without losing her focus on the bigger picture. Whether you consider ongoing problems with substance abuse or increasingly polarized political discourse, the book is startlingly relevant to modern times in many ways, marking Blumenthal as one of the more intellectually adventurous authors writing for young adults today.” —Horn Book Magazine

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

by Karen Blumenthal

Karen Blumenthal is a long-time journalist who has written for both adults and young people. She previously wrote about the 1920s in Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929, which was a Sibert Honor Book; about social change in Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, which won a Jane Addams Children's Book Award; and most recently the biography Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Karen Blumenthal

From the Publisher

Square Fish

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