McGirr makes two major contributions to the historical record. First, she vividly shows how enforcers targeted immigrant and black communities...Second, McGirr tells us that Prohibition gave birth to big government — an argument that could have a major impact on how we read American political history.
McGirr's well-written and accessible volume is essential because she not only recounts familiar aspects of Prohibition with insight and verve — she clearly, cogently and persuasively connects that era's politics and policies to our contemporary Prohibition: America's decades-long 'War on Drugs.'
Lisa McGirr’s The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State is dry and tendentious, like certain counties in Tennessee. But anyone with a serious interest in drug policy should read her book to understand how we arrived at our present tragedy.