Alcohol: a social staple or societal scourge? Author Garrett Peck seeks to answer that question in his new book, The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet (Rutgers University Press, September 2009, $26.95). Peck, a Washington, D.C., journalist whose first article for Nightclub & Bar appears in our September issue, conducted interviews with bar and restaurant owners as well as public health advocates, members of the clergy and drink industry pros to bring various viewpoints to light. He walks the journey from the Repeal of Prohibition in 1933 to the current day, taking on such topics as the evolution of the temperance movement to its modern-day incarnation and the debate over the 21-year-old drinking age.
Peck writes with both an insider’s knowledge and a wry observer’s viewpoint. His Conclusions chapter is ripe with keen insight and continues the balanced approach that runs throughout the book. He takes on a controversial topic with a reporter’s penchant for the facts and a citizen’s desire to protect both the public’s need for safety and its desire to exercise its freedom to imbibe.
But we won’t give away the ending; as for to whether Peck ultimately says alcohol is a societal staple or scourge, read the book. Check it out at www.prohibitionhangover.com.