I thought I oughta jump in here with my 2 cents re Carson's book. I am not a historian or an industry guy so I can't speak to the accurary of the history or lack thereof. However, as literature, Carson's Social History of Bourbon is my favorite bourbon book. His style is laid back and familiar. No quasi scholastic posturing. Reading it is like sitting on a porch shooting the bull with an unusually informed favorite uncle. I bought my copy by the wasy from http://www.alibris.com, a clearinghouse for antique and rare booksellers.

I suppose to get the scoop on the ins and outs of the bourbon industry, Sam Cecil's book is the authority supplemented by this board of course.

Another favorite is Mountain Spirits by a guy named Dabney. It's a fun little romp about the illicit moonshine trade in the deep southeast. A big plus is the extensive interviews with the distillers and bootleggers.