Daniel Okrent, author of "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," talks about the booze ban that rattled a nation.
Nice try, but no success.
Prohibition, perhaps the nation's grandest experiment in social do-good-ism, was doomed to become an epic failure. Upstanding and not-so-upstanding citizens alike chose to break the law, inspiring criminal gangs to provide their liquor. Legal loopholes turned into gaping canyons. And dangerous back-alley alcohol took lives.
Outside of a few cultural touchstones like "The Great Gatsby" and "The Untouchables" (and the new HBO series "Boardwalk Empire"), we've largely forgotten about Prohibition. Journalist Daniel Okrent brings the era back to life in his book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, which came out in 2010. He describes how "a mighty alliance of moralists and progressives, suffragists and xenophobes" pushed for the alcohol ban and set the template for today's political activism.