MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Speakeasies in the Age of Prohibition: Background information when reading The Other Typist

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Other Typist

A Novel

by Suzanne Rindell

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell X
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2013, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading
Buy This Book

About this Book

Speakeasies in the Age of Prohibition

This article relates to The Other Typist

Print Review

The Drunkard's ProgressProhibition came into effect in January 1920, one year to the day after the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified. It was a victory for the Anti-Saloon League, which had campaigned since 1893 to outlaw alcohol in order protect women and children from the effects of drunken husbands and to increase productivity among workers.

But it was simultaneously a victory for the crafts of subterfuge and bribery. Prohibition was, of course, a gigantic opportunity for the underground economy, and bootleggers and gangsters took full advantage. Their payoffs to New York City officials totaled at least $60 million a year. Speakeasies ("blind pigs," "jimmies") bloomed on every street corner, each with its own way of outsmarting law enforcement. The 21 Club at West 52nd Street was said to have a complicated system of levers to tip shelves and slide bottles into the city's sewers if the feds showed up; they were raided in 1932 but no alcohol was discovered. Rum Row, an enormous fleet of old freighters which lay at anchor up and down the Eastern Seaboard, acted as a series of floating liquor warehouses just beyond the three-mile jurisdiction of federal authorities. (For more on this topic see the Beyond the Book to Live By Night: Rum-Running in Prohibition Era Florida.)

New York City's 21 ClubDaniel Okrent, in his book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, says that our perception of speakeasies with peepholes and secret entrances is largely exaggerated. There were 1520 federal agents in charge of enforcing the dry laws, but there were as many as 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone by 1925. They could afford to operate in the open. Mayor Jimmy Walker frequented the Central Park Casino at the 72nd Street entrance to the park, which he'd had redesigned to his taste.

Nonetheless, the illicitness of speakeasies changed the urban culture of drinking, says Okrent. Prior to Prohibition, saloons were only for men and only for drinking. Speakeasies brought men and women together, added music and entertainment to the mix, and prompted the invention of brand-name liquor (to distinguish it from bathtub rotgut) and sexy cocktails. Recent years have seen a speakeasy revival (even prior to the Baz Luhrmann remake of The Great Gatsby) with open-secret bars like Please Don't Tell and Employees Only in New York, and prohibition cocktail favorites such as The Bee's Knees, French 75, The Aviation, and The Singapore Sling.



The Drunkard's Progress: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846

Article by Amy Reading

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Other Typist. It originally ran in July 2013 and has been updated for the April 2014 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: American Dirt
    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins
    Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt hasn't just been positively reviewed by BookBrowse First Impressions ...
  • Book Jacket: In the Dream House
    In the Dream House
    by Carmen Maria Machado
    In the introduction to In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado (a National Book Award finalist for ...
  • Book Jacket: Father of Lions
    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan
    Our readers have given high marks to Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan. Out of 21 reviewers, 18 ...
  • Book Jacket
    Girl, Woman, Other
    by Bernardine Evaristo
    As we meet Amma, a 50-something playwright finally experiencing mainstream success in Bernardine ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins

    A new American classic, and the first book to ever score a perfect 5-stars in BookBrowse's early reader program!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Small Days and Nights
    by Tishani Doshi

    A captivating and clear-eyed story of two sisters, set against the backdrop of modern India.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Adventurer's Son

Publishing Soon!
The Adventurer's Son

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
--Jon Krakauer

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.