Moonshine Memories

By in Federal Jurisdiction on July 12, 2013

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For twenty-five years, Tom Allison was a revenuer, a federal agent charged with enforcement of the nation’s laws on taxation of liquor. His territory was the hills, hollows and deep woods of Alabama, and his quarry was the illegal whiskey makers. Allison remembers the stake-outs in the brush, the undercover assignments, the long waits to catch the distillery operators red-handed, and, of course, the chases as he and his fellow treasury agents ran down fleeing moonshiners in the dark of night. While Allison is a natural story-teller, the characters who populate this history are too strange to be fiction.

3 thoughts on “Moonshine Memories

  1. Harvey H. Jackson
    1
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Thomas R. Allison, MOONSHINE MEMORIES, May 16, 2001
    By 
    Harvey H. Jackson (Jacksonville, AL USA) –

    This review is from: Moonshine Memories (Paperback)

    Some time back a Montgomery friend asked me to read a memoir that had been written by a former agent for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division (ATF) of the IRS — a “revenuer” as they once were called. The author was Thomas R. Allison. Since much of Allison’s career had been spend in northeast Alabama, my friend figured I would be interested, and he was right. So the manuscript was delivered. I read it. Encouraged my friend to encourage the author, and that was all I heard of it until a few months ago, when a copy of Moonshine Memories arrived on my desk, along with a note thanking me for all I had done. Understand this. I didn’t do anything. This is the author’s work and he should be justly proud. Begun as a way to tell his grandchildren about the life he led, Allison’s tales grew into a full-fledged account of the one of the most legend-filled conflicts in southern history — the cat and mouse contest between moonshiners and revenue agents. It is the story of lawmen chasing rumors, of stake-outs, of raids, of successes, and of failures, of excitement and danger, of painstaking investigations and boring dead-ends. Anyone who loves a good adventure story will love this book. But there is more to Moonshine Memories than ripping good yarns. Woven into the stories is one of the best accounts of how the illegal liquor business worked and how the men assigned to stop it did their job. Here is a look into an aspect of southern culture that, until now, has been obscure if not unknown. If you want to know what inspired songs like “Mountain Dew” and “Thunder Road,” read this book. Best of all, if you like to read about southern “personalities,” this book is for you. It is a fact that law enforcement and law breaking are two professions that attract unique individuals, some of whom could easily move from one profession to the other, and frequently did. Allison captures these people in print and reveals to readers a cast of characters that will delight and perplex. To sum it up, in Moonshine Memories Thomas Allison tells a good story, a funny story, an exciting story. But more than that, the story he tells preserves a part of Alabama history that is both important and entertaining. What began as a legacy for his grandchildren has become a legacy for us all.

    Harvey H. Jackson. Review orignially published in the Anniston Star.

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  2. Foster J. Dickson "Foster Dickson"
    2
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    True stories from rural Alabama, April 26, 2001
    By 
    Foster J. Dickson “Foster Dickson” (Montgomery, AL, United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Moonshine Memories (Hardcover)

    Tom Allison has written a great book about the ATF’s work in rural Alabama and Tennessee in busting illegal liquor. There is a lot fo humor in this book and plenty of very interesting characters, all true. I understand that this was written as a memoir, but ended up being very popular. It is definitely worth reading.

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  3. 3
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Interesting Alabama History, October 3, 2008
    By 
    Bama Lady (Montgomery, AL) –

    This review is from: Moonshine Memories (Paperback)

    I knew this author personally. This book is an account of the days he worked for ATF. Most southern states had moonshine stills operating in the deep woods and his stories are funny, poignant and well-written.

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