The Ghosts of Eden Park

The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America
Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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)

What listeners say about The Ghosts of Eden Park

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    118
  • 4 Stars
    88
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    149
  • 4 Stars
    56
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Quite entertaining

It's probably best to go into the story knowing as little as possible of this history. The author intersperses storylines effectively, and presents certain information in a non-chronological fashion, but deftly, so as to not reveal the ultimate outcome. Anyone who's seen Boardwalk Empire will recognize the main players, and I couldn't help but have that image in mind whenever George Remus spoke, particularly when referring to himself in third person. In fact, at times, I began to wonder if it was the character or the storyteller speaking about George Remus! All in all, a pleasant listen.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Manages to make the interesting quite dull

Karen Abbott writes about such interesting subjects, but somehow makes them arduous efforts to finish. I liked this more than her others but owe that to my natural curiosity in prohibition. Abbott is an incredible researcher, but fails in weaving her research into an enjoyable endeavour for the reader. Too much secondary and tertiary information muddles a story which should be quite interesting on its own. The grand Crescendo of the story is reduced to rote court documents. I don’t expect a novel, but there are so many wonderful nonfiction writers that easily avoid the pitfalls that Abbott continually falls in.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

An odd one-wanted to enjoy it

A great potential story for the telling, great characters, great narration, and yet...it just plodded along. Just compelling enough to stick with, but considered giving up a few times. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will find much that's familiar here-otherwise can't really recommend.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

interesting

very interesting story that I didn't know anything about prior to reading! it was a bit hard to keep all the various characters straight, and some were so minor they probably didn't need to be introduced, but enjoyed this book nonetheless.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

The book had a lot of promise going into it and the story was certainly intriguing, but it just didn’t deliver. It took me some time to trudge through it. Perhaps it was using two narrators or maybe the flow of the story was a bit off, but I found it very difficult to get into the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

King of the Bootleggers!

Don’t let the title turn you away. This is not a story of ghosts and hauntings. Instead, find a fascinating and well written (and here, spoken) story about crime, corruption and government intrigue. Expect to be fascinated by characters of the age, including the king of the bootleggers, his wife and cronies, as well as the most powerful woman in the federal government in the 20s, Mabel Walker Willebrandt, Assistant Attorney General. This historical nonfiction title is definitely worth your time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Truth is Stranger than Fiction

The story is laid out logically and is easy to follow. The major themes are obvious. But, it drags a little at times. The author’s writing style is clean without superfluous additions. You will find the story itself incredulous or even unbelievable. You will be appalled by the amount of graft and corruption described at every level of government. You will compare the story to more modern, sensational murder trials like OJ Simpson. There are many parallels.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing read and awesome details

loved learning about the history of a neighborhood I grew up in in Cincinnati

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Crime Of Passion, Maybe?

This read like a, wild & crazy crime of love and hate; George, wore revenge on his sleeves. Imogene, gold digger, plain and simple; then came Dodge, who was by far the worst scalawag in the entire book. Highly recommend this authentic audible dish, it won't disappoint.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pronunciation Goof

It is LY- ma. Ohio, not LEE-ma. Took me a minute to figure out where he was hospitalized.