I had no acquaintance with the HBO series (other than wanting to see it) and virtually no knowledge of Atlantic City's history prior to the 1980s, and that only superficial. For this reason I went into 'Boardwalk Empire' with somewhat unrealistic expectations. I assumed that since this book purported to feature the mob in a large role (which it does), the book's pages would be littered with the bodies of snitches, gangsters and hard-luck losers. This is not the case, as virtually all of BE's characters die of natural causes.
Having said that, BE was a rewarding read despite my shattered expectations. The book is replete with stories of crime, graft and corruption, which makes for exciting reading. Some of the earlier, pre-crime chapters are a little slow, but the book soon shifts into full gear all the way up to the ill-advised afterword, which seems unnecessary. Moreover, the use of a different narrator for the afterword (although I enjoy T. Winter's work) is jarring.
Joe Mantegna is the highlight of the work. His heavily-inflected, but precise diction is a treat.
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
This is a history of Atlantic City, from it's beginnings at a mosquito filled wetland to the glitter of the Trump Tower. It's just the facts with no romance or cliffhanger endings -- and it's a very good history. It's clear why HBO opted to serialize and fictionalize the life of Nucky Johnson -- its an amazing story and I think the most interesting part of the book, but don't give THE DONALD a short shrift. Before he was a joke with bad hair, he was an egomaniacal businessman and he turned AC around. Well narrated by Joe Mantegna, it's a very interesting slice of American History.
The most revealing and interesting part about this book is how the Republican party supported and encouraged organized crime in Atlantic City. The ties between republicans and gangsters gave rise to this city of bars, casinos and brothels. But as it is said in the books: "People want bars, casinos and brothels, so we give it to them. If they had wanted bible studies, we'd had given them bible studies".
The story is interesting, if a little too exhaustive with too many details about what happended several generations ago. But still worth listening to. Well read as well.
At half way through Boardwalk Empire I thought the author was getting too redundant about what it took to be an Enoch Johnson - favors, power, votes; but I stuck with the book and the second half was excellent. From Steven Wynn and Donald Trump to suggestions about what's wrong with AC and how to fix it were all entertaining and informative.
I too purchased this thinking it would have the excitement as the previews for the upcoming series show. This isn't that kind of book. It is very interesting and really gives a great historic account of Alantic City, but it isn't the fast action you might be expecting from the series with the same name. It is however a really well written account if you're interested in the real history of the area. I've never been there, but I think I'd be familiar with a lot of it if I did decide to go there. I was a bit disappointed because of my expectations, but I can't say there's anything wrong with this book....
I can't remember if I actually finished this one or not - I might have lost interest after 2/3 of the book or so. Interesting diversion from my usual type of books (fiction). Wouldn't call it great, but not bad either
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
I really enjoyed this history of Atlantic City on which parts of the HBO show is based. The early years of getting a city built were quite interesting and the fact that the city was never an uncorrupted town. It was so out of the way that the only way to get everyday people to come was to have 4 different railroads and gambling and entertainment.
The locals determined that these hardworking people wanted to let loose and they decided to look the other way so they would come back. Prostitution was accepted and booze (when it was illegal) and gambling were tolerated. It was a wild town especially in Enoch Johnson's day. HBO calls him Nucky Thompson but they are the same.
My favorite parts of the book were the parts about the blacks and religion. It's always a good reminder.
The later parts of the book are not as appealing. Who cares how The Donald arrived in Atlantic City? The machinations of getting gambling legalized was enthralling.
The narrator was very good.
Say something about yourself!
I absolutely will listen to Boardwalk Empire again. It is a sensational story about a time period that I love. I could nearly hear the jazz playing in the background. Every character is so well defined that it leaps from the recording. The plot is easy to follow, no bogging down in details but still detailed enough to make it real and interesting. I watched the HBO series (based on this book) before getting the audiobook. The book is better in a lot of ways but the series was fabulous and I was disappointed when both came to an end.
Of course, the main character but there were many colorful ones.
I learned about corruption of that era and geographical area in a way I had not known before reading the audiobook.
A delightful book.
Joe Mantegna does an amazing job of narrating a very well written book about the history of the Mob in Atlantic City. This book takes you through the more seedy side of Atlantic City's history. The author really did his research and the book keeps you entertained and informed.
A good and thorough storybook that should be found in every NJ middle school library. Listening to this book, I learned a lot, that I didn't know before. Nevertheless, the book is a far cry from the HBO series. Many listeners will feel disappointed by the absolute lack of action scenes. Thanks to Joe Mantegna, the whole thing is somewhat salvaged from boredom.