Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire

The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City

Book - 2010
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Providing the inspiration and source material for the upcoming HBO series produced by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Terence Winter, this riveting and wide-reaching history explores the sordid past of Atlantic City--forever a freewheeling town long-dedicated to the fast buck--from the city's heyday as a Prohibition-era mecca of lawlessness to its rebirth as a legitimate casino resort in the modern era. A colorful cast of powerful characters, led by "Commodore" Kuehnle and "Nucky" Johnson, populates this stranger-than-fiction account of corrupt politics and the toxic power structure that grew out of guile, finesse, and extortion. Atlantic City's shadowy past--through its rise, fall, and rebirth--is given new light in this revealing, and often appalling, study of legislative abuse and organized crime.

Publisher: Medford, N.J. : Medford Press/Plexus Pub., 2010
Edition: HBO series tie-in ed
ISBN: 9780966674866
Characteristics: xviii, 284 p., [32] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 22 cm


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Aug 11, 2015

I was a big fan of the HBO show, which wrapped up recently after 5 seasons. Like "Deadwood," it was based on real people and real events, but it also took liberties. Nelson Johnson's history of Atlantic City, which begins with is creation out of a strip of beach land and then traces it thorough its heyday during prohibition to its decline and then the arrival of one D. Trump in the 80s. There are actually only a few chapters about Nucky Johnson, the character played by Steve Buscemi in the show (as Nucky Thompson), who is described as being "tall, trim, and broad-shouldered." Johnson is a lawyer and not a professional writer and even though "Boardwalk Empire" is well researched, the writing is rather clunky, although I enjoyed his chapter on Trump, whose ego he describes as "the biggest since the Pharaohs." If you've seen the show, you'll like learning a little more about the real people who inspired the characters, but otherwise, it's a bit dull. Forward by show creator Terrence Winter.


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