The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius


Product Details

$27.99  $25.75
Diversion Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.1 X 9.0 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Bob Batchelor is a critically-acclaimed, bestselling cultural historian and biographer. He has published widely on American history and literature, including books on Stan Lee, Bob Dylan, The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, and John Updike. Batchelor earned his doctorate in English Literature from the University of South Florida. He teaches in the Media, Journalism & Film department at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Suzette, and their teen daughters.


"[Remus] was one of those larger-than-life outlaws...[Batchelor] makes this flashy bootlegger sound like a folk hero...Since Remus made a point of selling pure, unadulterated hooch, he soon became the kingpin of a national network of suppliers, distributors, lawyers and goons. Behold the king."
--New York Times Book Review

"Death and deception! Money and mayhem! Murder in broad daylight! The trial of the century! With The Bourbon King, Bob Batchelor brings us a story that seems ripped from the tabloids, except it all happens to be true. Batchelor tells the story of George Remus, one of the world's most notorious bootleggers, with verve and pizzazz worthy of the gangster movies of Hollywood's Golden Era."
--Brian Jay Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson: The Biography

"The fantastic story of George Remus makes the rest of the 'Roaring Twenties' look like the 'Boring Twenties' in comparison. It's all here: murder, mayhem--and high-priced hooch."
--David Pietrusza, author of 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents

"Forget Al Capone. Forget Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson. Let us turn our attention, instead, to one George Remus, the Bourbon King of prohibition...The Bourbon King might as well be the outline of a Netflix or HBO series...All in all, it's a hell of a story."
--Washington Independent Review of Books "Batchelor covers Remus' entire life, from his days in Chicago as a pharmacist and showboating attorney to his meteoric rise as 'the king of the bootleggers' to his final days in obscurity in Covington. And he meticulously traces how Remus built--and lost--his empire."
--Cincinnati Enquirer

"Batchelor does a masterful job of historical journalism using archival resources to paint a picture of the man and his time. . . . Remus comes across as a bigger-than-life force of nature. . . . The Bourbon King is a compelling Jazz Age tale that mixes in crime, booze, gangsters, and lust."
--Houston Press

"Guns, ghosts, graft (and even Goethe) are all present in Bob Batchelor's meticulous account of the life and times of the notorious George Remus. Brimming with liquor and lust, greed, and revenge, this entertaining book might make you reach for a good, stiff drink when you're done."
--Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking with Men

"The roaring '20s glisten with vice and danger in this fast-paced portrait of prolific bootlegger George Remus, from biographer Batchelor. . . . [The] action-packed narrative both entertains and informs with its tales of the corruption of President Warren G. Harding's attorney general, the bootlegging trade, and the public's oscillating views of Remus and Prohibition in general. Larger-than-life characters take the reins of this story, a rip-roaring good time for any American history buff or true-crime fan."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Bourbon King is a much-needed addition to the American mobster nonfiction bookshelf. For too long, George Remus has taken a backseat to his Prohibition-era gangster peers like Lucky Luciano and Al Capone. Read here about a man who intoxicated the nation with a near-endless supply of top-shelf Kentucky bourbon, and then got away with murder."
--James Higdon, author of The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate's Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History

"Al Capone had nothing on George Remus, the true king of Prohibition. His life journey is fascinating, a Jazz Age cocktail that Bob Batchelor mixes for readers within these pages. Remus went from pharmacist to high-profile defense attorney to bourbon king to murderer."
--Tom Stanton, author of Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit

"An aggressive, ambitious foray into the brutal life and times of George Remus, an archetypal figure emerging from the sordid tapestry of life and crime in the Prohibition Era. This historical portrait is presented not in traditional, dry prose exposition, but rather in lucid, hard-hitting, tight writing interlaced with striking dialogue--a form of storytelling that is effective, efficient, and transporting."
--Phillip Sipiora, editor of Mind of an Outlaw: Selected Essays of Norman Mailer

"A captivating portrayal of the Roaring Twenties, The Bourbon King shows how George Remus built and lost a bootleg empire, only to be entangled in a love triangle that led to murder. Bob Batchelor brings the seedy underworld of the 1920s fully to life."
--Richard Steigmann-Gall, author of The Holy Reich

"Bob Batchelor is at the top of his game in this fascinating study, which combines the thrilling and often disturbing story of George Remus's life with penetrating insights into the history of Prohibition, corruption, law enforcement, and the business of American bootlegging. A pleasure to read for historians and bourbon aficionados alike."
--Thomas Heinrich, author of Ships for the Seven Seas: Philadelphia Shipbuilding in the Age of Industrial Capitalism

"This is another contribution from a leading scholar of popular culture. He brings to life a colorful character from the Prohibition era in a style worthy of his subject."
--Lawrence S. Kaplan, University Professor Emeritus, Kent State University

"[A] comprehensive look at Remus's life...Recommended primarily for readers already interested in nonfiction accounts of organized crime or Prohibition."
--Library Journal

"A top-notch true crime biography of a Roaring Twenties outlaw...An enthralling narrative of a man possessing multitudes of talents, yet also foibles. Remus is a larger than life figure who is compelling, yet at times repellent. The story holds the reader's attention until the very end. An A++ biography."
--San Francisco Book Review

"A true-life tale worthy of the most sensationalist tabloids...[An] expertly researched story, sure to fascinate historians, criminologists, and lay readers alike. Highly recommended."
--Midwest Book Review

"Impressively researched...Batchelor charts the growth of Remus's liquor empire and his spectacular downfall in astounding detail, and brings plenty of local knowledge to his version of the story."
--Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

"Strongly recommend...Very entertaining and a good read that provides an excellent look at the life and crimes of George Remus."

"Batchelor delves into the story of a man whose name, strangely, has faded into the mist while that of Al Capone remains the archetype of the 1920s booze peddler."
--Akron Beacon Journal

"The book provides great insight into a brilliant man who was greatly troubled."
--Collected Miscellany

"Wonderfully researched and entertaining."
--Brooklyn Digest

"A splashy story about a character as colorful as any born in Hollywood."
--Milwaukee Shepherd Express

"Historians and connoisseurs alike will love reading The Bourbon King by Bob Batchelor. It's the story of George Remus, his crimes, and his totally illegal prohibition-era empire."
--The Bookworm Sez

"Bob Batchelor breathes life into the tale of George Remus...A lens into the dark heart of Prohibition."
--Entertainment Report

Praise for the author's previous book Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel

"Where Batchelor succeeds most is fleshing out the settings and context along the narrative spine of Lee's life." -Washington Post

"Fun Ride!" -New York Daily News