Read More About Prohibition in California

VanderwoodCoverSmall Ken Burns's new documentary Prohibition airs this weekend on most PBS stations. Most accounts of Prohibition focus on the East Coast and Chicago, and few tell about how Mexico was affected. After you watch the documentary, consider deepening your knowledge of the era by reading Paul S. Vanderwood's Satan's Playground: Mobsters and Movie Stars at America’s Greatest Gaming Resort. Vanderwood tells the story of the Tijuana resort Agua Caliente, which developed in response to Prohibition in the U.S. Diplomats, royalty, film stars, sports celebrities, politicians, patricians, and nouveau-riche capitalists flocked to Agua Caliente’s luxurious complex of casinos, hotels, cabarets, and sports extravaganzas, and to its world-renowned thoroughbred racetrack. Although Agua Caliente went into decline after World War II and the ending of Prohibition, it was the inspiration for Las Vegas.

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