The Ghosts of Eden Park : The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America
by Karen Abbott


Overview - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

"Gatsby-era noir at its best."--Erik Larson

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he's a multi-millionaire. The press calls him "King of the Bootleggers," writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt's bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she'd pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It's a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government--and that can only end in murder.

Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.

Praise for The Ghosts of Eden Park

"An exhaustively researched, hugely entertaining work of popular history that . . . exhumes a colorful crew of once-celebrated characters and restores them to full-blooded life. . . . Abbott's] m tier is narrative nonfiction and--as this vibrant, enormously readable book makes clear--she is one of the masters of the art."--The Wall Street Journal

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More About The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott
 
 
 
Overview
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

"Gatsby-era noir at its best."--Erik Larson

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he's a multi-millionaire. The press calls him "King of the Bootleggers," writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt's bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she'd pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It's a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government--and that can only end in murder.

Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.

Praise for The Ghosts of Eden Park

"An exhaustively researched, hugely entertaining work of popular history that . . . exhumes a colorful crew of once-celebrated characters and restores them to full-blooded life. . . . Abbott's] m tier is narrative nonfiction and--as this vibrant, enormously readable book makes clear--she is one of the masters of the art."--The Wall Street Journal

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780451498625
  • ISBN-10: 0451498623
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
  • Publish Date: August 2019
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - 20th Century
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Criminals & Outlaws
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical

 
BookPage Reviews

The Ghosts of Eden Park

George Remus legally defended bootleggers. Then he decided to become one. His outrageous scheme involved circulating whiskey from distilleries (that he owned) to pharmacies (that he owned) and, along the way, being robbed by bandits (whom he employed). His flashy second wife, Imogene Holmes, helped him run the ever-growing empire. They bought a mansion. They threw parties. They lived lavishly. Behind the frenetic lifestyle of this German-immigrant-turned-millionaire was an unquenchable thirst, not for whiskey (he was a teetotaler) but for acceptance and admiration. 

When Holmes betrayed Remus by starting an affair with the prohibition agent Franklin Dodge, Remus began to exhibit signs of madness. These “brainstorms” culminated in murder: Remus shot Holmes at point-blank range. The following trial captured the attention of the country. Remus, ever hungry for the limelight, defended himself and pleaded “transitory insanity.” By the end, his fortune was gone.

In The Ghosts of Eden Park, Karen Abbott tells the story of Remus’ rise and fall with a novelist’s eye, and incredibly, every line of dialogue is taken directly from a primary source. Without embellishment or overt psychologizing, she pulls readers into the kaleidoscopic world of Jazz-Age America, full of flappers and whiskey parties, boisterous criminals and crooked government agents. Though Remus seemed unstoppable, he met his match in Mabel Willebrandt, a U.S. attorney and staunch feminist who was determined to bring him down.

As a resident of Cincinnati, where the crimes took place, I drove past the landmarks from Remus’ story: the sites of the Alms and Sinton hotels, the fateful roundabout in Eden Park. I was transfixed, not only by the incredible research that informed this compulsively readable book but also by what the story reveals about human nature, the interplay of brilliant and unpredictable individuals and the societies in which they live, and the way that greed, fame and lust can—and have—corrupted the motives of both lovers and enemies. If you are a fan of true crime, historical nonfiction and the Jazz Age, this is not a book to miss.

 
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