Writing historical fiction requires practically writing a non-fiction book on the subject.
As I progress, I will obviously add more to this bibliography, and eventually place it online, but for a general overview of the time period, I have here my shorter list:
- Prohibition. This is the PBS version that is now out on DVD. An excellent overview from the rise to the fall of Prohibition. I feel that it devotes entirely too much information to how Prohibition came into effect, but as delved deeper into the subject, I realized that the history leading up to the passing of Prohibition was equally as important. One of the aspects of the DVD that I enjoyed were the firsthand stories told by those who lived through the Prohibition whether about their parents or their own personal activities.
- Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent. The author of this book was featured in PBS' Prohibition. He gives a good solid overview that goes a little deeper, and includes some of what happened in Canada as well.
- Prohibition Era: Temperance in the United States by Louise Chipley Slavicek. A good, short general overview of the era, including providing text of the Eighteenth Amendment, and a portion of the Volstead Act.
- Music of Prohibition. I liked this CD which has a collection of jazz hits from the Twenties and Thirties. Not necessarily an important research tool, but it sure is nice to listen to while writing novels set in the time period.
- Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II by Marc McCutcheon. This book is part of the Writer's Guide to Everyday Life series that covers a collection of time periods including Middle Ages, Reformation, Colonial America, and Victorian Age. This particular book, I think is one of the better ones, partly because it focuses on a fairly short time frame (thirty years or so) whereas some of the others cover a century or more. The good thing about this book is that it gives you the slang of the time period - the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, the KKK had risen to power again during Prohibition, and I doubt if they would have had a pleasant word to say about Jews, Catholics and blacks.
- A Stitch in Time: Knitting and Crochet Patterns by Jane Waller. I enjoy knitting, and knitting was popular in the Twenties, so it would be appropriate for one of my characters to knit. This book provides actual patterns from the time period.
Researching is fun, just time-consuming, but often times new research leads to new story topics.