The Cornbread Mafia: The Outlaw Pot Growers In the Bluegrass of Kentucky

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About Mervyn Kaufman

A consumer-magazine writer, Mervyn Kaufman is the author most recently of The Shamrock Way, the history of Arizona's biggest and most enduring food-service company, and coauthor of the Gary Stevens memoir, The Perfect Ride.


  1. Keith Wallman says:

    Nice review. As the editor of the book, one of the things that attracted me to the story was its connections/parallels to Prohibition. It doesn’t matter what side of the marijuana legalization debate you’re on; there are incidents chronicled in the book and in the War on Marijuana in general where you can replace the words “smugglers” and “pot farmers” with “rumrunners” and “moonshiners,” and “Prohibition agents” with “drug enforcement agents” – and you’d be seeing history repeating itself 50-plus years after the Volstead Act. As one of the authors who provided a blurb for the book put it, THE CORNBREAD MAFIA is a “bookend to Ken Burns’s PROHIBITION.”

    • Just a girl says:

      Johnny Boone was never a folk hero. He made people nervous at best. Ditto for Bobby Joe Shewmaker. The Bickett boys were not respected – they were considered hoodlums. But dope was money and money talked. Jimmy Higdon knows that and he romanticized it in this book. I grew up in the shadow of these guys. The emotional devastation of the children involved is just heartbreaking. That Jimmy treated the topic so blithely was in insult to so many that he grew up with. I’m ashamed of him and I found the book misleading.

  2. I’m distantly related to some of these folks…..very very sad :(

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