Tuesday, May 18, 2010

RPL Reading Pick - The Wettest County in the World

We haven't done much in the way of book reviews or recommendations here on the RPL blog, but I wanted to share a book I've been reading recently for a few reasons. First, when you read a good book, you want to recommend it to as many people as possible and second, this book has very close historical ties to Richmond and Virginia as a whole, which made the story even more intriguing as it unfolded in our backyard.

The Wettest County in the World tells the story of the Bondurant Boys - a notorious gang of  brothers and moonshiners who ran their product through Franklin County, Virginia and beyond to areas all over the east and beyond, including Richmond, DC, Philadelphia and New York. 

Based on a true story, (and written by their grandson, Matt Bondurant), this historical depiction of the liquor running business during Prohibition and beyond had me enthralled from the first chapter. At times both violent and endearing, the story follows the evolution of Forrest, Howard and Jack Bondurant into the most successful and feared group of liquor dealers in Virginia, if not the entire east coast. 

Moonshine was a dangerous business and there were times that I found myself clutching the book as violent backwoods battles over liquor raged. However, this tale also weaves heartbreaking stories of family life during the Depression, young love, desperation, and passion into the mix as well. 

Overall, it's a great story that I would recommend to anyone who likes both fiction or historical fiction - it's not top-heavy with historical information but provides a solid background of the moonshine trade while focusing on the development of the characters. 

The Wettest County in the World is also available at the Richmond Public Library - if you've read this book and would like to provide your own commentary, leave a comment with your thoughts and we can start a discussion!

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