Wednesday, 27 May 2015

BOARDWALK EMPIRE by Nelson Johnson

4.5 out of 5 stars

American history: non fiction

Audio book

On Amazon UK HERE

I started listening to this because I adored the TV series Boardwalk Empire, which was taken from this book - not the other way round, oh people who reviewed it saying it has a lot of boring history in it...!

It tells of the rise of Atlantic City from a tiny fishing village in nowheresville, South Jersey, into a resort for the entertainment of the working man.  The idea was the brainchild of one Dr Joseph Pitney, whose original idea was to turn it into a health resort - but the first thing he had to do was negotiate with the railroad companies, so that visitors could actually reach this isolated outpost. By the end of the 19th century, the basis was in place for the Atlantic City empire of treasurer Nucky Johnson, on whom Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson is based. 

The pre-Nucky section of the book is probably about a third of it, and I liked this part the best.  If you're interested in Americal sociological history you will find this book as fascinating as I did, though if you're expecting lots of dramatic gangster type stuff in the Prohibition era you will be disappointed - people like Al Capone are scarcely mentioned, and Arnold Rothstein not at all, I don't think; much of the story in the televison series is fictional.

Narrated by actor Joe Mantegna, of 101 gangster films fame ~ the perfect choice. 


  1. Sounds like fascinating stuff! I love a good audio book so might give this one a look. Thanks for the recommendation :-)

    1. Ali, I only listen to audio books in the bath or when ironing - the other day I asked Him Indoors if he could please change his clothes more often>more washing>more ironing! Yesterday I even got down to those bits at the bottom of the ironing basket that have been there for weeks (you have them too, right? No? Oh, okay...!) so that I could carry on listening :) Great stuff!

  2. Anytime you fancy popping down here for a listen Terry feel free - my ironing pile stretches to the ceiling and you can help yourself - no really, you don't need to thank me! - I'm at the point of wearing really weird outfits as everything else is in 'the pile'! Anyway I haven't seen Boardwalk Empire so that connection passes me by but I'm sure this is a fascinating listen.

    1. Ha ha ha! I don't think it would give me the same satisfaction doing other people's, G, though I'm about to start on the life of Henry Hill (on which Goodfellas was based), so you never know!

      Although I need someone coming to stay in order to clean the house properly, I am a little fanatical about clothes washing and ironing. :)