He is one of the most eclectic writers of nonfiction today. His Great Fortune: The Epic of RockefellerCenter was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. He has written extensively on baseball, and is the inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball, the best-known form of fantasy baseball. His extensive knowledge about the history of baseball earned him inclusion as a commentator in Ken Burns’s PBS series, “Baseball.”
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is a narrative history of that most peculiar episode in American history, sweeping across several decades and most of the country, including Kentucky. Last Call is overflowing with portraits of the period’s notable personalities, including Sam Bronfman, H. L. Mencken, Pierre du Pont and Billy Sunday, among many others. Okrent is featured in a documentary on Prohibition, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, broadcast in 2011.
Okrent’s research reveals the creativity Americans showed in attempting to preserve this other great pastime, and also documents the rise of our current use of mixers with liquor, the first national crime syndicates, and the prominence of Coca-Cola. He deftly illustrates how Prohibition intersected with other elements of America’s history, including World War I, the rights of women, the advent of the income tax, and questions of an individual’s right to privacy.
“With this marvelous page-turner of a history, Daniel Okrent tells a surprising story of messianic crusaders, single-interest lobbyists, righteous prosecutors, Jazz Age defiers, bewildered brewers, headline-hungry gangsters, and a vast population of freedom-loving Americans forced to endure a unique intrusion by the U.S. government into their private lives. LAST CALL is a remarkable tale, told by a masterful writer.” — Ken Burns
Daniel Okrent shared a Forum conversation with John Huey, Editor-in-chief of Time Inc., in which role he oversees the editorial content of the majority of Time Inc.’s U. S. magazines, including Time, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated. During an earlier tenure as managing editor of Fortune, Huey was named one of the top 10 magazine editors in the country by the Columbia Journalism Review; and, under his leadership, Fortune was ranked #1 on Adweek’s “Hot List” of the industry’s top 10 magazines. Huey is also the co-author of Sam Walton: Made in America, the biography of the late founder of Wal-Mart.