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Booked for Lunch: “The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America” by Karen Abbott

October 28, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Join the next Booked for Lunch book talk on Zoom! Looking for a great read, something engaging and informative? The Wilton Historical Society hosts a lunchtime book discussion group that focuses on history. We welcome one and all!

“Gatsby-era noir at its best.” – says Erik Larson

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America is the choice for the next Booked for Lunch. It is the epic true-crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.

The discussion will feature a book talk with the author, New York Times Bestselling author Karen Abbott.

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.

The Ghosts of Eden Park was an instant New York Times bestseller, an Edgar Award finalist for best fact crime, an Indie Next pick, an Amazon best book of 2019, and a Smithsonian Magazine top-10 history book of 2019!

Abbott has written for The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications, and has appeared on the History Channel, “CBS Sunday Morning,” AMC’s “Making of the Mob,” the Travel Channel’s “Monumental Mysteries,” and the Discovery Channel.

Registration is essential. Register by email by email. After you register, you will receive a confirmation, Zoom session ID Code, and instructions about how to submit questions.


Wilton Historical Society
(203) 762-7257
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Nick Foster