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Ken Burns/Lynn Novick's 'Prohibition'
Acclaimed documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick present the story of America's 'Great Experiment.' The three-part series traces the American populace from 'a nation of drunkards' in the mid-1800s to 'a nation of scofflaws' starting in 1920—when previously law-abiding citizens skirted the ban on alcohol—and finally to 'a nation of hypocrites' in the late 20s and early 30s, when it became clear that prohibition was a failure. With 'Prohibition,' Burns and Novick go beyond the tales of rum runners, flappers and speakeasies to reveal a complicated and divided nation of 'wets' and 'drys'—a nation that set out to guard against the harmful effects of alcohol abuse by weaving a faith-driven moral code into the Constitution, but that paradoxically caused millions of its citizens to redefine morality.
Master storyteller and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy recounts the fascinating and violent exploits of gangster-bootlegger Jack 'Legs' Diamond during the prohibition era in this new WMHT documentary. Diamond built criminal empires in New York City and the Catskills during the 1920s and 30s, but after being acquitted in two sensational trials in Troy, New York, he sought to rebuild in Albany. This put 'Legs' on a collision course with the establishment forces that controlled the capital city's illicit liquor trade in the days leading up to Diamond's murder. Kennedy paints a portrait of a man who embodied the essence of public sentiment on prohibition, and who may have provoked Albany's most powerful politician to blur the lines between the criminals and the authorities.