On October 1, 1917, prohibition came into effect in the province of British Columbia. Washington and Oregon had gone dry the previous year. The ban on liquor sales led to deadly conflict and legal chaos in the Pacific Northwest, and the legacy of those “booze battles” continues into the 21st century.
Rich Mole introduced readers to West Coast prohibition’s pioneer years in Scoundrels and Saloons: Whisky Wars of the Pacific Northwest, 1840–1917. In Rum-runners and Renegades, he recounts the wild and wacky—and sometimes tragic—results of later prohibition laws through the exploits of both prohibitionists and prohibition-busters, among them Jonathan Rogers, a wealthy Vancouver builder and prohibition leader; the Billingsley brothers, a quartet of handsome bootleggers from Seattle; and enterprising Johnny Schnarr, Victoria’s number-one rum-runner. From vicious marine hijackers and bedeviled police to corrupt politicians and frustrated drinkers on both sides of the border, this is an action-filled account of liquor and lawlessness on the West Coast.