Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City

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Ebury Press, 2011 - Atlantic City (N.J.) - 284 pages
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'When I was first approached by HBO to use Nelson Johnson's book as the basis for a TV series, my biggest challenge was choosing a time period in which to set ita Ultimately I settled on the 1920s of Atlantic City's legendary treasurer Nucky Johnsona A place of spectacle, shady politics, fast women and backroom deals' -Terence Winter, Emmy Award-winning writer of The Sopranos and Executive Producer of Boardwalk Empire From its humble beginnings as a fledgling seaside resort, Atlantic City grew to be America's playground - loud, brash, and dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. In 1920 alcohol was banned across the States under Prohibition, yet, thanks to racketeers and corrupt politicians, the liquor in Atlantic City never stopped flowing. As the brothels, bars and gambling rooms flourished, the reputation of both the city itself and its most famous resident grew. Enoch 'Nucky' Johnson was a powerful political force and leading figure in organised crime. His corrupt alliance created a city where the rules just didn't apply, the dollar ruled and the law could be bought. The book that inspired the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire brings to life Nucky and the whole cast of his shady associates. Recounting the life of this fascinating city and its most colourful residents, it's a brilliantly told story of a city built on cards and dice, booze and broads.

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The book started out well enough, but soon rambled off onto so many tangents that I had a hard time reading it. I never saw the show on TV, so I compared this to other books. A good editor could remove large parts of the narrative, especially parts of the book that didn't support the premise of the story. I didn't need the history of Philadelphia, or the many other tangential data the author worked in.  

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About the author (2011)

Nelson Johnson's family lived in Atlantic County before the city was founded, and he is himself a lifelong resident of Hammonton, New Jersey. He practiced law for 30 years, and was attorney for the Atlantic City Planning Board at the time many applications for the building of the casinos were approved. Fascinated by the complicated history of Atlantic City, Nelson spent almost two decades interviewing, researching and writing to create Boardwalk Empire.

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