Bernie, You're a Bootlegger
by Joan Winghart Wilcox Sullivan
Trafford Publishing

"A statement made in April 1923, stated that the New York and Canadian borders are a ‘moist place’. The chief prohibition agent inspected the border and there were 11 agents guarding 50 roads across the border, where there should be 50 men."

Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. During that period, many people saw their lives change including Bernie, Joe and Mayme Winghart. The "Bootlegging Trio" as they came to be known, teamed up in the serious and dangerous business of rum running which took them back and forth between the Canadian border and upstate New York utilizing land and more frequently the lakes and river system. The trio realized the dangers of their escapades but also realized the dangers of backyard hooch that their friends and neighbors were facing and the sizable profits to be made just couldn't be ignored. Narrated by Bernie's daughter Joan, the story tells of brushes with the law, liquor dumped into the bottom of lakes to avoid capture, arson, underground tunnels, gangs, government corruption, and a nation desperate for their booze.

This is a personalized an interesting story of the prohibition era. Stitched together from family memories and interviews, Sullivan, risks her family's reputation to explore the errors of their ways during what many considered a dark point in our nation's history. With photos, sketches, copies of licenses, and other documentation provided as illustration for the story, the reader could easily be flipping through a family album. With just enough detail, the reader gets to know each member of the Bootlegging Trio–their motivations and talents. This story is impeccably timed with the popularity of such shows as "Moonshiners." Well-timed, brave, and worthy of a read, it makes the reader feel like they're being taken back in history while swapping stories on a front porch swing.

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