Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shumaker and the City

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the Marion County Historical Society at the wonderful downtown Indy venue of Roberts Park United Methodist Church.  Truly a jewel, the congregations dates itself to the first Methodist gathering in Indianapolis (which also produced Meridian Street United Methodist) and have been in their current home since just after the Civil War.  While the turnout wasn't large (it was a beautiful day), it was still a great time.  The question and answer time was enhanced by the presence of a member of Attorney General Arthur Gilliom's family, as well as by a former student of mine (it is always good to see students after they've graduated).  Advanced coverage in the Indianapolis Star was also very nice.

I opted to talk about Shumaker and the City, and the idea that it was really in America's urban areas where Prohibition was debated, and where the battle was fought.  One of the points I tried to make was that things changed a great deal between 1910 and 1930, to the point that drinking as it had been known pre-Prohibition, simply didn't exist in post-Prohibition America.  And drys were partially responsible for both that change, as well as others throughout American society.  To say that Prohibition "failed" then is to misunderstand both what drys were attempting to do and what actually happened.  That I got to do so from whose pulpit the dry crusade was once proclaimed made it all very special.

The past year's journey with this book has really been special.  From book signings to book talks, from getting reviews and emails, to hearing the kids say "Daddy, that is YOUR book," I wouldn't trade a minute of it.  With other speaking events planned, and news this week that my second book (on the American Mainline) is looking increasingly likely, I can't wait to see what the next 12 months bring.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

News from Across the Pond

This is from, as of 1:35 EST today:

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#52 in  Books > Biography > Historical > United States > Religion
#98 in  Books > Biography > Political > Countries & Regions > Indian Subcontinent