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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "The Ghosts of Eden Park" by Karen Abbott

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"The Ghosts of Eden Park" by Karen Abbott

  1. Character Analysis:

    • Analyze the character of George Remus. What qualities and characteristics define him as a person? How does the author portray his rise to power and eventual downfall?
  2. Prohibition Era:

    • Discuss the historical context of the Prohibition era in the United States. How did Prohibition impact society, culture, and the economy? In what ways did it lead to the rise of organized crime and bootlegging?
  3. Crime and Justice:

    • Explore the themes of crime and justice in the book. How does the murder case involving George Remus highlight the complexities of the legal system during the Prohibition era? What role did corruption and bribery play in the pursuit of justice?
  4. Gender Roles and Women's Empowerment:

    • Consider the role of women in "The Ghosts of Eden Park," particularly regarding Mabel Walker Willebrandt's involvement in the case. How does the book depict the challenges and opportunities faced by women during this time period?
  5. Ethics and Morality:

    • Reflect on the ethical dilemmas presented in the book, such as the conflicts between legality and morality during Prohibition. How do the characters grapple with these issues, and what are the consequences of their actions?
  6. Power and Corruption:

    • Discuss the themes of power and corruption in the book. How does George Remus wield his influence and manipulate those around him? What does his story reveal about the nature of power and its corrupting effects?
  7. Narrative Structure:

    • Evaluate the author's narrative structure and storytelling techniques. How does Karen Abbott weave together historical research, personal anecdotes, and vivid descriptions to bring the story to life?
  8. Social Commentary:

    • Consider the book's commentary on social issues such as class, race, and privilege during the Prohibition era. How do these factors shape the experiences and actions of the characters in the book?
  9. Legacy and Impact:

    • Reflect on the lasting impact of George Remus and the events depicted in the book. How has his story shaped popular culture and perceptions of the Prohibition era?
  10. Relevance Today:

    • Discuss the relevance of the themes and events in "The Ghosts of Eden Park" to contemporary society. In what ways do the issues explored in the book resonate with modern-day audiences?

Karen Abbott is an American author known for her historical non-fiction books that vividly bring to life captivating stories from the past. While there isn't an extensive biography available, here's what is known about her:

Early Life: Karen Abbott was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She developed a passion for history from a young age, which ultimately influenced her career as a writer.

Career: Abbott began her career as a journalist, writing for various publications including Philadelphia magazine and Philadelphia Weekly. Her transition to writing historical non-fiction occurred when she became fascinated by a forgotten story from history while researching a magazine article.

Literary Works: Karen Abbott is best known for her meticulously researched and vividly narrated historical non-fiction books. Some of her notable works include:

  • "Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul" (2007): This book explores the colorful and scandalous history of Chicago's Everleigh Club, one of the most famous brothels in American history, during the early 20th century.
  • "American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee" (2010): Abbott delves into the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, the iconic burlesque performer and actress, offering a fascinating portrait of both the woman and the era in which she lived.
  • "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" (2014): In this book, Abbott recounts the true stories of four remarkable women who served as spies during the American Civil War, shedding light on their courage and contributions to history.
  • "The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America" (2019): Abbott tells the captivating story of George Remus, a notorious bootlegger during Prohibition, and the murder case that captivated America in the 1920s.

Writing Style: Karen Abbott is praised for her engaging narrative style, meticulous research, and ability to bring historical events and figures to life with vivid detail. Her books often blend elements of biography, social history, and true crime to create compelling and immersive narratives.

While Karen Abbott tends to keep a relatively low public profile, her work as an author has garnered critical acclaim and earned her a dedicated readership. Through her books, she continues to shine a light on fascinating and often overlooked stories from America's past.

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