Ken Ollis' New Book Shares How Capone and Bootlegging Affected a Town

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"How Blue Are the Ridges" tells the history of the Blue Ridge Mountain area.

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People often think mountain life is simple and tame. In fact we have a turbulent history with a striking story.

While Al Capone and Chicago may have been the face of bootlegging during the depression, the feuds over the alcohol trade reached significantly farther south, all the way into the mountains.

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina played a prominent role in the Chicago bootleg trade resulting in the survival of the mountain folk of the region. New historical fiction “How Blue Are the Ridges” recalls that era and the people who lived the lifestyle.

“I was a child of the great depression,” author Ken Ollis said, “I witnessed a high degree of trauma and hard times in my home region at that point, but have remained amongst the Blue Ridges for over 40 years.”

Whether it’s the illegal alcohol trade, a veritable war against the mafia, the creation of a community through its religion or the struggles of a town to survive, “How Blue Are the Ridges” has got it all.

“People often think mountain life is simple and tame,” Ollis said, “In fact we have a turbulent history with a striking story, and that’s what I want people to see.”

“How Blue are the Ridges”
By: Ken Ollis
ISBN: 978-1-4759-9154-3
Retail price: $30.95
Available at and

About the author
Ken Ollis spent much of his life traveling abroad and has lived all over the U.S., but he was always drawn back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. He settled on Gingercake Mountain with his wife Jackie to build a life and now has two sons, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He also wrote a collection of poems, “Seasons of Poetry.”

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Spencer Hotz
Bohlsen Group
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