Matthew Beyer has begun a “Moments In History” series to raise awareness of important historical events. Each post will also have book recommendations about the moment in history, using our extensive history collection in the library.
January 17, 1920
The Volstead Act
Also known as the National Prohibition Act, the Volstead Act went into effect to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment, which banned the sale of alcohol in the United States. This act came into being through the acts of the Temperance Movement, a largely female-led political and religious movement that sought to rid America of the temptations and suffering of alcohol dependency. While the good intentions of the Temperance Movement may have been noble in responding to debilitating effects of alcoholism on many Americans, it was none the less naïve to think that the federal government could successfully regulate and enforce such a law.
While there was general decline in alcohol use during the Prohibition era, it was also a time marked by widespread crime, corruption, and violence. This was highlighted by the creation of organized crime syndicates that soon began dotting the major American big cities. The creation of the Italian Mafia and other crime families quickly capitalized on the control and distribution of the illicit selling of alcohol. Illegal bars known as speakeasies began to pop up in many American cities and towns. Alcohol was smuggled in from other nations like Canada, Ireland, Cuba, and Mexico. The illegal production within the United States was often done locally in southern states in the form of whiskey and moonshine.
The attempts to enforce Prohibition led to the creation of the Bureau of Prohibition, a federalized agency that could act where local ineffective and often corrupt police agencies couldn’t or wouldn’t. The use of federal agencies to combat organized and inter-state crime would eventually evolve into the Federal Bureau of Investigations or F.B.I.
Eventually, popular opinion, as well as the states’ need for tax revenue, led to the repeal of Prohibition by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1935.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, the Union University Library has various books and media that cover this tumultuous time period:
J-Term is the perfect time to curl up with a good book and a warm blanket. But what are some “cozy” books that will fit the wintry mood? We made a list of the best library books to read over J-Term below.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
4 sisters growing up and figuring out life in 1800s New England- what’s not to like? Little Women is a timeless classic about love, loss, family, and following your dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, now is a great time to start!
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
If you enjoy books about small towns where everyone knows each other, then this book is perfect for you. A surprising marriage stirs up different attitudes in Cold Sassy, Georgia, and the gossip- and entertainment value- increases.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Dive into the fascinating fantasy world of Redwall Abbey, where anthropomorphized mice fight a villainous rat enemy to protect their land and their values. These books were childhood favorites of mine and still hold up as excellent stories to get lost in today.
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Just click the link and look at the cover of this book. If that cover isn’t the definition of cozy, I don’t know what is. Serious Moonlight is a young adult mystery/romance and a light read- perfect for any college students who need a break from heavy textbooks.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Time travel, cloning, and beloved literary characters make this book a fun and familiar read. You’ll be drawn into this clever caper without having to leave your cozy couch.
Click on the links to see where each book is located at the library. Happy reading!
Did you know that January 23rd is National Reading Day? It’s a perfect excuse to visit the library and pick out a new book!
Some of our latest additions are listed below:
- Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay & Linda E. Shepherd
- Imperfect Justice by Cara C. Putman
- The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney
- Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
- The Healthy Living Handbook by Laura Harris Smith
- Gladiator: The Roman Fighter’s (Unofficial) Manual by Phillip Matyszak
- The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
- Magic and Religion in Medieval England by Catherine Rider
- The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone by Scott Samuelson
- Artemis by Andy Weir
You can find most of these books in our New Books section or the Recreational Reading section, both on the second floor. Happy reading!
Come study with us during J-Term! Here are the library’s hours for this month: