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Discussing the History of Rumrunners in Narragansett Bay – Book Talk with Christian McBurney

The Rhode Island Historical Society will host veteran research and writer Christian McBurney on Wednesday, August 1st, at 6 p.m., for a free talk highlighting his latest work Machine Guns in Narragansett Bay: The Coast Guard’s War on Rumrunners.

McBurney will explore the use of excessive force in Narragansett Bay and other Rhode Island waters during Prohibition against crews that were mostly made up of local fishermen (many from immigrant families) trying to earn extra dollars and fulfill a strong demand for bootleg liquor. This force included the use of machine guns from wartime coastal forts that did not see action during World War I, but were frequently fired by the US Coast Guard at rum-running vessels from 1929 to 1933, resulting in injuries and deaths among the ship’s crews.

Christian McBurney is the author or co-author of eight books on Rhode Island history.  He is the publisher and chief editor of the Review of Rhode Island History at smallstatebighistory.com, devoted to Rhode Island history. He practices law in Washington, DC and he and his wife have a second home in West Kingston, Rhode Island.

No registration is required for this free event at RIHS’s Aldrich House headquarters.


Aug 1, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


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Aldrich House
110 Benevolent Street
Providence, RI 02906 United States
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