Renowned historian Karen Abbott uses a wealth of primary source documents and her impeccable prose to bring to vivid life the story of millionaire kingpin bootlegger George Remus, US Assistant Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt, and their Prohibition-era world. Abbott meticulously chronicles these larger-than-life characters’ journeys in this storied time, evocatively interspersing tantalizing courtroom testimony that hints at the scandal, betrayal, and murder to come. A true crime saga written to keep you turning pages.
August 2019 Indie Next List
“This true crime story reads like a great murder mystery and will have you hooked from the start. Wonderful research pulls you right into the story, in which readers are introduced to George Remus, a bootlegging lawyer/millionaire during the prohibition Jazz Age, and Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who is given the job of prosecutor because the corrupt U.S. Attorney’s office doesn’t think she will pose a threat to their relationship with Remus. Willebrandt will prove them wrong. The tension, greed, and flair of The Ghosts of Eden Park makes this the best nonfiction book of the summer!”
— Debbie Scheller, A Likely Story, Sykesville, MD
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 An ID Book Club Selection - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SMITHSONIAN
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
"Satisfyingly sensational and thoroughly researched."--The Columbus Dispatch
"Absorbing . . . a Prohibition-era page-turner."--Chicago Tribune