The Ghosts of Eden Park
On October 10, 2019, Karen Abbott delivered a Banner Lecture entitled, “The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America.”
In the early days of Prohibition, a German immigrant named George Remus quit practicing law and started trafficking whiskey. Within two years he was a multi-millionaire. The press called 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. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States. Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt was determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the U.S. Attorney’s office 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 dispatched her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into Remus’s empire. It’s a decision with deadly consequences. 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.
Karen Abbott is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City; American Rose; Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and the Christian Science Monitor; and, most recently, The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz- Age America.
The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.