Run the Rum In

Run the Rum In book cover

Run the Rum In was a fun book to write. It started with an obscure and somewhat humorous article tucked away in a file on Roads in the Boca Raton Historical Society. In the article a boat filled with illegal booze accidently came ashore in front of a surveyor the rummie thought was his signal man.

I figured there were probably a lot more stories like that up and down the South Florida coast so I did a little research. The end result was Run the Rum In–a fascinating look at the events and characters associated with running illegal booze into the U.S. through Florida during the Prohibition era.

Al Capone

Lots of interesting people – William McCoy (known as the “Real McCoy”), Captain Knight (Cap’s Place), Al Capone, James Horace Alderman (infamous rum runner), Carry Nation (Prohibition advocate known for chopping up bars with a hatchet), Grace Lythogoe & Marie Waite (two beautiful and savvy female rum runners), the Ashley Gang (bank robbers and murders), Elizabeth Friedman (Coast Guard cryptologist), Mabel Walker Willebrandt (asst. attorney general), and many more.

Since the book came out I have participated in a National Geographic documentary on Gangsters, and I’m currently working on a documentary for WLRN (PBS Miami) on Prohibition and the South Florida Connection.  It will air in January 2012 and run after Ken Burns documentary on Prohibition.

Al Hasis Tending Bar at Cap's Place

Run the Rum In is a fun read filled with many South Florida events and personalities, many of which were unknown until now.

Click here for reviews by one of Amazon’s book reviewers and others.

Click here to go to the Bimini Museum and view some interesting photos and footage from the Prohibition era.

Click here to go to my website.

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Originally called the Florida Asylum for the Indigent Insane, but more commonly called “Chattahoochee” by long-time Floridians, I came to know of the hospital’s existence back in the 1960s when I first moved to Florida. Its reputation at that time was . . . well. . . pretty bad, but in reality not so different than most asylums around the country.  But what Chattahoochee had that most other asylums didn’t was its amazing history.

From a federal arsenal during the Second Seminole and Civil Wars, to Freedman’s Bureau, to Florida’s first state penitentiary (there are stories here that will curl your hair), and finally to the asylum, the Florida State Hospital has a remarkable past–some that produced scenes one could only find in a horror movie. And, when you move into the 1900s, the story really gets interesting with political scandals, patient abuse, use of treatments such as ECT and lobotomies, and the incarceration of thousands of men, women and children who weren’t really insane at all.

“Colored” ward at the Florida State Hospital

     Out of Mind, Out of Sight will reveal for the first time, the entire history of the facility set against the backdrop of the evolution of the country’s mental health care system, from institutional care to community-based treatment centers. And, it will bring you up to date with those who currently occupy the facility–forensic patients, those who have been convicted of a crime but who are considered mentally ill and not competent to stand trial.

I’d love to hear from anyone with connections to the facility.

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