Rum-Running in Prohibition Era Florida: Background information when reading Live by Night

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Live by Night

by Dennis Lehane

Live by Night
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 416 pages

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Rum-Running in Prohibition Era Florida

Prohibition in the United States began on January 1920 when the 18th Amendment, ratified the previous year, took effect. It ended with the passing of the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933, which repealed the 18th. Illegal liquor was, of course, produced and sold during this time. It was typically lousy stuff; poor quality drink made, sometimes, from types of alcohol not intended for human consumption. But Florida was a different story. High quality rum and other spirits were available just a few hundred miles away in the Bahamas and Cuba. The only thing separating thirsty Floridians and these riches were the perilous Florida Straits, but where there's a will, there's a way, or so the saying goes - and so rum-running was invented.

The boundary between the US and international waters was, at the time, only 3 miles off the coast of Florida. Ships would line up in this area - Rum Row - and daring sea captains would retrieve the liquor and make their way back to land. From there, the ...

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