27 August 2015

Chasing the White Dog, by Max Whatman

I noticed this book when I was looking for something else, that bit of serendipity that used to occur when browsing the shelves of a good old-fashioned library like the one in Schenectady, New York, where I went as a young teenage reader.

New York Times Review

I found myself getting a little tired of the repeated descriptions of whiskey tastings, and the tiresomely colorful characters of microdistillery businessmen in Colorado and other places.

The first half or more of the book is actually about traditional moonshiners and the law-enforcement people who pursue them. This part was pretty interesting.

There's an obligatory section on NASCAR, and even a cameo appearance by Junior Johnson. At one point, Johnson takes the author to a remote location and shows him what we are to believe is an illegal still, but in light of Johnson's "Midnight Moon" product, which I think is quite on the up-and-up, and probably a source of revenue to the Feds, as well as whatever state in which it's sold, I am skeptical.

Near the end of the book is the description of the trial of Jody "Duck" and Margaret Smith, for moonshining, and for conspiracy. This is somewhat interesting, as trials provide their own drama.

Watman ends his book with what is, to me, a sensible plea to legalize home distilling of a limited amount.

No comments: