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John Ayers
John Ayers

The Wettest County in the World: How a True Story Inspired a Novel and a Movie


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




If you are looking for a gripping and gritty tale of bootlegging, brotherhood, and murder, you might want to check out The Wettest County in the World, a novel by Matt Bondurant. This book is based on the true story of the author's grandfather and two granduncles, who were notorious moonshiners in Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and beyond. In this article, we will explore what the book is about, who are the main characters, what are the themes of the book, how is the book based on a true story, and how can you read the book online.




the wettest county in the world epub 16



What is the book about?




The book follows the lives and exploits of the Bondurant brothers, Howard, Forrest, and Jack, who run a successful bootlegging business in Franklin County, Virginia, in the 1920s and 1930s. Franklin County was known as "the wettest county in the world" because of the amount of moonshine that was produced and distributed there. The Bondurant brothers were fearless and ruthless in their trade, defying the law and their rivals with their homemade liquor and their guns. They also had a reputation for being indestructible, especially Forrest, who survived several near-fatal incidents.


However, their fortunes change when a new deputy sheriff arrives in town, Charlie Rakes, who is determined to crack down on the illegal liquor trade and extort money from the moonshiners. Rakes is a sadistic and corrupt lawman who will stop at nothing to get his way. He targets the Bondurant brothers as his main enemies and tries to destroy them by any means necessary. The brothers have to fight for their lives and their livelihood against Rakes and his allies, while also dealing with their own personal issues and relationships.


Who are the main characters?




The Bondurant brothers




The Bondurant brothers are the protagonists of the book. They are based on real-life people who were Matt Bondurant's grandfather and two granduncles. Here is a brief description of each brother:


  • Howard Bondurant: The eldest brother, Howard is a veteran of World War I who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He is an alcoholic and a hothead who often acts impulsively and violently. He is loyal to his brothers but also resents them for their success and popularity.



  • Forrest Bondurant: The middle brother, Forrest is the leader and the brains of the bootlegging operation. He is fierce, cunning, and charismatic. He has a reputation for being invincible after surviving several attempts on his life, including a throat-cutting and a pneumonia. He falls in love with Maggie Beauford, a young woman who works at his gas station.



  • Jack Bondurant: The youngest brother, Jack is the narrator and the main focus of the book. He is ambitious, adventurous, and romantic. He wants to prove himself to his brothers and to the world by becoming a successful moonshiner and a gangster. He is fascinated by cars, movies, and celebrities. He falls in love with Bertha Minnix, a preacher's daughter who is attracted to his rebellious side.



Sherwood Anderson




Sherwood Anderson is a secondary character in the book. He is a real-life journalist and author who wrote Winesburg, Ohio and other works of fiction. He is also the one who coined the term "the wettest county in the world" after visiting Franklin County in 1934 to write an article about the moonshine trade. In the book, he serves as a contrast and a commentary to the Bondurant brothers' story. He is an outsider who tries to understand and document the culture and the history of the county, but also a participant who gets involved in the events and the conflicts that unfold.


Other historical figures




The book also features other historical figures who were involved in the moonshine trade or the law enforcement in Franklin County. Some of them are:


  • Charlie Rakes: The main antagonist of the book, Rakes is a deputy sheriff from Chicago who is sent to Franklin County to enforce Prohibition and collect bribes from the moonshiners. He is a cruel and corrupt man who tortures and kills anyone who opposes him. He has a personal vendetta against the Bondurant brothers and tries to ruin them.



  • Franklin County Sheriff's Department: The local law enforcement agency that is supposed to uphold the law but instead collaborates with the moonshiners and takes a cut from their profits. They are led by Sheriff Hodges, who is a friend of the Bondurant brothers and tries to protect them from Rakes.



  • Floyd Banner: A notorious gangster from Chicago who controls most of the liquor distribution in Virginia. He is a rival of the Bondurant brothers but also respects them for their courage and their quality of moonshine. He helps them out on several occasions and becomes an ally against Rakes.



  • Commonwealth's Attorney Mason Wardell: The prosecutor who leads the investigation into the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy, a massive case that exposed the corruption and the collusion between the moonshiners and the law enforcement in Franklin County. He is an honest and ambitious man who wants to bring justice and reform to the county.



What are the themes of the book?




Bootlegging and prohibition




One of the main themes of the book is bootlegging and prohibition, which refers to the illegal production and distribution of alcohol during the period when it was banned by law in the United States from 1920 to 1933. The book explores how bootlegging was not only a lucrative business but also a way of life for many people in rural areas like Franklin County, where it was part of their culture and their identity. The book also shows how prohibition was a failed policy that created more problems than it solved, such as violence, corruption, organized crime, and social unrest.


Brotherhood and loyalty




Another theme of the book is brotherhood and loyalty, which refers to the bond and the commitment that exists between family members, friends, or allies. The book illustrates how brotherhood and loyalty are essential for survival and success in a harsh and hostile environment like Franklin County, where enemies and dangers are everywhere. The book also examines how brotherhood and loyalty can be tested, strained, or betrayed by various factors, such as greed, ambition, love, or fear.


Violence and survival




A third theme of the book is violence and survival, which refers to the use of force or aggression to defend oneself or one's interests from harm or threat. The book depicts how violence and survival are intertwined in Franklin County, where life is cheap and brutal, and where death can come at any moment from any direction. The book also explores how violence and survival can affect one's psyche, morality, and humanity, either by hardening them or by breaking them.


How is the book based on a true story?




The author's family history




his granduncles' letters, and other family documents as sources for his novel. He also interviewed some of his relatives and other people who knew the Bondurant brothers or had witnessed the events that took place in Franklin County. He also visited the locations and the landmarks that were featured in the book, such as the gas station, the courthouse, and the cemetery.


The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy




The book is also based on a true story because it incorporates a historical event that happened in Franklin County in 1935, known as the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy. This was a massive case that exposed the corruption and the collusion between the moonshiners and the law enforcement in Franklin County. The case was led by Commonwealth's Attorney Mason Wardell, who indicted 80 people for defrauding the government out of 5.5 million dollars in whisky excise taxes, equivalent to roughly 95 million dollars today. The case was the second longest in Virginia's history and resulted in 20 convictions, including several officers of the law and government officials. The case also attracted national attention and media coverage, especially by journalist Sherwood Anderson, who wrote an article about it for Liberty magazine.


The historical accuracy and fictionality of the book




While the book is based on a true story, it is not a factual account of what happened in Franklin County. The book is a work of fiction that uses historical facts as a backdrop and a framework for a creative and imaginative narrative. The book does not claim to be accurate or objective in its portrayal of the characters, the events, or the culture of Franklin County. The book also adds, omits, or changes some details for dramatic or artistic purposes. For example, some of the characters are fictional or composite creations, some of the events are exaggerated or embellished, and some of the dates are altered or rearranged. The book also uses literary devices such as symbolism, metaphor, and foreshadowing to enhance its themes and messages.


How can you read the book online?




The wettest county in the world epub 16




If you want to read the book online, one of the formats you can use is epub 16. Epub is a popular and widely supported format for ebooks that allows you to read books on various devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers. Epub 16 is a new version of epub that was released in 2021 and offers some improvements and features over previous versions, such as better accessibility, interactivity, multimedia, and layout. To read an epub 16 file, you need an app or a software that supports this format. Some examples are Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre, Google Play Books, Apple Books, and Kobo.


One of the places where you can find The Wettest County in the World in epub 16 format is Rakuten Kobo, an online platform that sells ebooks and audiobooks. You can buy the book for $12.99 USD or get it for free if you sign up for a free trial of Kobo Plus Read & Listen subscription service. You can also read a free preview of the book before buying it. To read the book on Kobo, you need to create an account and download the Kobo app on your device.


Other formats and platforms




If you prefer other formats or platforms to read The Wettest County in the World online, you have several options to choose from. Here are some of them:


  • PDF: PDF is another common and compatible format for ebooks that preserves the layout and design of the book. You can read a PDF file on any device that has a PDF reader installed, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can find The Wettest County in the World in PDF format on Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library that offers free access to millions of books and other media. You can download or borrow the book for 14 days with an Internet Archive account.



  • AZW3: AZW3 is a proprietary format for ebooks that is used by Amazon Kindle devices and apps. You can read an AZW3 file on any device that has a Kindle app installed, such as a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, or a Kindle e-reader. You can find The Wettest County in the World in AZW3 format on Amazon, the world's largest online retailer that sells ebooks and other products. You can buy the book for $11.99 USD or get it for free if you sign up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited subscription service.



  • Audiobook: Audiobook is a format for ebooks that allows you to listen to the book instead of reading it. You can listen to an audiobook on any device that has an audio player installed, such as a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, or an MP3 player. You can find The Wettest County in the World in audiobook format on Audible, an online platform that sells audiobooks and podcasts. You can buy the book for $19.95 USD or get it for free if you sign up for a free trial of Audible Plus or Audible Premium Plus subscription service. The audiobook is narrated by Erik Steele, who brings the characters and the story to life with his voice.



Tips for reading ebooks




Reading ebooks can be a convenient and enjoyable way to access books online, but it can also pose some challenges and drawbacks. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your ebook reading experience:


  • Choose the right format and platform for your device and your preference. Different formats and platforms have different advantages and disadvantages, such as compatibility, quality, features, price, and availability. You may want to compare and try different options before deciding which one suits you best.



  • Adjust the settings and the layout of your ebook to suit your comfort and convenience. You may want to change the font size, the brightness, the contrast, the orientation, or the margin of your ebook to make it easier to read. You may also want to use bookmarks, highlights, notes, or dictionaries to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the book.



  • Take breaks and protect your eyesight. Reading ebooks can strain your eyes and cause fatigue, headaches, or blurred vision. You may want to take frequent breaks and rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You may also want to use eye drops, glasses, or filters to reduce eye irritation and glare.



  • Respect the author's rights and the law. Reading ebooks can be tempting to share or copy them without permission or payment, but this can violate the author's rights and the law. You may want to respect the author's work and support them by buying their books legally and ethically.



Conclusion




The Wettest County in the World is a novel by Matt Bondurant that is based on the true story of his grandfather and two granduncles who were moonshiners in Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and beyond. The book tells a gripping and gritty tale of bootlegging, brotherhood, and murder that involves historical figures and events such as Sherwood Anderson, Charlie Rakes, and the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy. The book is a work of fiction that uses historical facts as a backdrop and a framework for a creative and imaginative narrative. The book is available online in various formats and platforms such as epub 16, PDF, AZW3, and audiobook. Reading ebooks can be a convenient and enjoyable way to access books online, but it can also pose some challenges and drawbacks that can be overcome with some tips.


FAQs




  • What is the difference between moonshine and whisky?



Moonshine and whisky are both distilled spirits made from fermented grains such as corn, barley, rye, or wheat. The main difference is that moonshine is illegal and unregulated, while whisky is legal and regulated. Moonshine is usually made in homemade stills without aging or filtering, while whisky is usually made in licensed distilleries with aging in wooden barrels and filtering for quality control. Moonshine is also usually stronger and harsher than whisky, with higher alcohol content and impurities.


  • Who are the Bondurant brothers in real life?



The Bondurant brothers are Howard Bondurant (1897-1965), Forrest Bondurant (1901-1965), and Jack Bondurant (1910-1974), who were real people who lived in Franklin County, Virginia. They were moonshiners who ran a successful bootlegging business in Franklin County during Prohibition and beyond. They were also involved in several violent incidents with law enforcement and rival bootleggers.


  • What is "the wettest county in the world"?



county in the world" is a term that was coined by journalist and author Sherwood Anderson after he visited Franklin County, Virginia, in 1934 to write an article about the moonshine trade. He was impressed by the amount and the quality of the illegal liquor that was produced and distributed in the county, which he estimated to be about 200,000 gallons per year. He called Franklin County "the wettest county in the world" in his article, which was published in Liberty magazine in 1935.


  • What is the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy?



The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy was a historical event that happened in Franklin County, Virginia, in 1935. It was a massive case that exposed the corruption and the collusion between the moonshiners and the law enforcement in Franklin County. The case was led by Commonwealth's Attorney Mason Wardell, who indicted 80 people for defrauding the government out of 5.5 million dollars in whisky excise taxes, equivalent to roughly 95 million dollars today. The case was the second longest in Virginia's history and resulted in 20 convictions, including several officers of the law and government officials.


  • How can I watch Lawless, the movie adaptation of The Wettest County in the World?



Lawless is a 2012 Hollywood drama film that is based on The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant. The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, and Mia Wasikowska. The film follows the story of the Bondurant brothers and their bootlegging business in Franklin County during Prohibition. The film is available to watch online on various platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and iTunes.


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