The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story

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Simon and Schuster, Dec 29, 2009 - Fiction - 320 pages
9 Reviews
Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Howard, the eldest brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; Forrest, the middle brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father's business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought. 
     White mule, white lightning, firewater, popskull, wild cat, stump whiskey, or rotgut—whatever you called it, Franklin County was awash in moonshine in the 1920s. When Sherwood Anderson, the journalist and author of Winesburg, Ohio, was covering a story there, he christened it the “wettest county in the world.” In the twilight of his career, Anderson finds himself driving along dusty red roads trying to find the Bondurant brothers, piece together the clues linking them to “The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,” and break open the silence that shrouds Franklin County. 
     In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men—their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires—to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.

 
  

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Review: The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story

User Review  - Sean - Goodreads

A gritty and, at times, brutal tale of one family's involvement in the illicit liquor trade of the 1920s and 1930s. Based on court records and family history, Matt Bondurant fleshes out the "truth ... Read full review

Review: The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story

User Review  - Goodreads

A gritty and, at times, brutal tale of one family's involvement in the illicit liquor trade of the 1920s and 1930s. Based on court records and family history, Matt Bondurant fleshes out the "truth ... Read full review

All 3 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
3
Section 3
11
Section 4
21
Section 5
30
Section 6
42
Section 7
50
Section 8
55
Section 21
172
Section 22
177
Section 23
185
Section 24
195
Section 25
201
Section 26
211
Section 27
225
Section 28
234

Section 9
66
Section 10
77
Section 11
83
Section 12
106
Section 13
109
Section 14
111
Section 15
121
Section 16
136
Section 17
141
Section 18
147
Section 19
153
Section 20
161
Section 29
243
Section 30
245
Section 31
255
Section 32
260
Section 33
270
Section 34
277
Section 35
282
Section 36
303
Section 37
307
Section 38
310
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Matt Bondurant is the author of three novels, the most recent of which is The Night Swimmer. Lawless—previously published as The Wettest County in the World—was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 50 Best Books of the Year. His first novel, The Third Translation, was an international bestseller, translated into fourteen languages worldwide. He currently teaches literature and writing in the Arts and Humanities graduate program at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Bibliographic information