{Book Review} Chasing the White Dog By: Max Watman

A Fun Look At Moonshine But With Faults

In this book journalist Max Watman takes you all around the world of American distilling and moonshining.  We learn of his own (Mis)adventures in fermenting and distilling in his kitchen and basement.  We learn the history of distilling and in our nation’s past, and we get an overview of the major events that shaped alcohol production in the country (Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition, Etc.).  We also get a tour of many of the new startup micro-distillers that have began around the country.  Finally Max takes you on a great tour of moonshining in Virginia, South Carolina and much of the rest of the South and even visits with the law enforcement officers who are charged with shutting it down.

The topics are not all in this order; rather the author tends to jump around from subject to subject as he changes chapters.  His writing about his own experience making moonshine, visiting micro-distillers and moonshiners is quite interesting and I as a reader was able to connect with the people he was interviewing and talking about.  However his leaps into American moonshining and distilling history were far too chaotic for me to follow, characters came and went so fast that by the end of a chapter I felt like I didn’t learn too much and it all spread by in a blur.

Other than the occasional falter when he ventures into history, Watman does a great job telling you about real people who practice this art of distilling spirits, both legally and illegally.  And as far as books go on the subject, his is one of the freshest and is obviously one of the most current, so despite its faults I recommend the book if this subject interests you at all.

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