Sample
  • The Ghosts of Eden Park

  • The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America
  • By: Karen Abbott
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro, Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (503 ratings)

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The Ghosts of Eden Park  By  cover art

The Ghosts of Eden Park

By: Karen Abbott
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro, Cassandra Campbell
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Publisher's summary

New York Times best seller

The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times best-selling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

"Gatsby-era noir at its best." (Erik Larson)

An ID Book Club Selection • Named one of the 10 Best History Books of the Year by Smithsonian

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.

Praise for The Ghosts of Eden Park

"An exhaustively researched, hugely entertaining work of popular history that...exhumes a colorful crew of once-celebrated characters and restores them to full-blooded life.... [Abbott’s] métier is narrative nonfiction and - as this vibrant, enormously readable book makes clear - she is one of the masters of the art." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Satisfyingly sensational and thoroughly researched." (The Columbus Dispatch)

"Absorbing...a Prohibition-era page-turner." (Chicago Tribune)

©2019 Karen Abbott (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Few authors write as colorfully and compellingly about the past as Karen Abbott, particularly when bad behavior is involved. In The Ghosts of Eden Park, we meet the audacious, larger-than-life ‘King of the Bootleggers,’ George Remus, and the equally fascinating women who will seal his fate. Sex and greed, corruption and revenge, oceans of illegal booze - Abbott’s action-packed, riveting tale has it all." (Paula McLain, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin)

"Karen Abbott has long shown a formidable talent for rescuing Gothic stories from the noirish margins of American history. In The Ghosts of Eden Park, she's done it once again. Here is a high-proof narrative from the Age of Excess, populated with real-life gangsters and flapper girls, but also with plenty of surprising characters who cut against type. This Prohibition-era tale of trapdoors and false bottoms, of wicked pleasures and brilliant deceptions, springs to life on the page - and has Hollywood written all over it." (Hampton Sides, New York Times best-selling author of In the Kingdom of Ice)

"A gripping true-crime narrative...[Abbott’s] research is exemplary, and she lays out the details with a novelist’s deft touch. [F. Scott Fitzgerald] would undoubtedly have appreciated this heady cocktail of murder, intrigue and Jazz Age excess." (The Washington Post)