Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle

Published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot)
Paperback, $16.95; Kindle, $9.99

Moonshine is corn whiskey, traditionally made in improvised stills throughout the Appalachian South. While quality varied from one producer to another, the whiskey had one thing in common: It was illegal because the distiller refused to pay taxes to the US government. Many moonshiners were descendants of Scots-Irish immigrants who had fought in the original Whiskey Rebellion in the early 1790s. They brought their knowledge of distilling with them to America along with a profound sense of independence and a refusal to submit to government authority. Today many Southern states have relaxed their laws and now allow the legal production of moonshine—provided that taxes are paid. Yet many modern moonshiners retain deep links to their bootlegging heritage. Moonshine Nation is the story of moonshine’s history and origins alongside profiles of modern moonshiners—and a collection of drink recipes from each.

What they’re saying:

“Moonshine Nation is the definitive book on the true American spirit.”
South Florida Opulence Magazine

“His book — part history lesson, part profiles of modern moonshiners (drink recipes included) — reads like source material for Elmore Leonard.

“He sets the scene of a broke, young America needing to pay its bills to overseas creditors. Rather than tax the wealthy landowners (the ones who voted), politicians instead tax the poor farmers producing whiskey. The battle between the haves and have-nots begins, leading to the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, and continues through Prohibition and beyond.

"With a storyteller’s dexterity, Spivak straightens the curving history of cat-and-mouse between the moonshiners and the Feds trying to find and destroy their stills — and collect the taxes.”
Carlos Frias, Palm Beach Post

“I’m not much of a history person. I’ve never really cared much about what happened in the past, and instead focused on the present and the future. But, when I sat down with a copy of Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle by Mark Spivak, I immediately became sucked in to events that happened long before I was born. I have a feeling once you get the book in your hands, the same will happen.
“Go ahead and pick up a copy…read the pages as you sip on some moonshine from a mason jar and learn more about an important part of America’s spirited history.”
Jessica Torres,