Narrator: Joe Mantegna
Length: 11 Hours 38 Minutes
Published by Ebury Press on 2011
Buy on Amazon
'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 it... Ultimately I settled on the 1920s of Atlantic City's legendary treasurer Nucky Johnson... 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.
Why Did I Listen To Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and the Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson?
I am a massive fans of all things HBO. Well, massive is really an overstatement. So, let’s just say I love HBO programming when I have access to it. HBO has a show called Boardwalk Empire that’s based upon this book. I knew that before buying this book and wanted to watch it when I realized that Steve Buscemi was the star. I saw Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times And The Corruption Of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson for sale on Audible and bought it on a whim. So then I made this whole promise to myself that I would not spoil the book by watching the show and so, here we are like 2 years after buying the book and I have finally listened to it — so now I can watch the show AND have access to it via Joshua’s Prime Account.
What’s It All About?
Essentially Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson takes you through the inception of Atlantic City – when it’s founded all the way through modern day. It is a book that is really about the history of the city. There are some chapters that go into depth on various figures like Enoch Johnson, Louis “Commodore” Kuehnle, and even Donald Trump.
What Did I Learn?
I learned that originally Atlantic City was founded to be a health vacation spot for the wealthy. However, with the advent of the railroad, it became one of the first vacation spots for the working class from Philadelphia. People who lived in Atlantic City wanted to provide tourists with all kinds of amusements – from gambling to drinking to prostitution. I thought it was fascinating to discover in one chapter that the end of Prohibition had a negative effect on Atlantic City – I certainly was not expecting that. I also thought it was great that Johnson includes a discussion of race in this book. Boardwalk Empire has a section dedicated to discussing why so many Black people lived in Atlantic City after the end of slavery and it’s because in this City there was so much opportunity for them – they could make more working there than anywhere else. ALSO! There’s a part that talks about Black artisans and how there was a drastic reduction in the amount of Black artisans because white people felt like their jobs were threatened which lead to a lack of prosperity for Black people. I just was glad that reinforced the long roots of white privilege and how things like Black Lives Matter don’t occur in a bubble.
How’s The Writing?
Well, I definitely actually learned a lot. I do feel a tiny bit mislead because I was expecting this to be dramatic like an HBO show and also to focus on the historical person that the HBO show does — Nucky Johnson. However, that didn’t happen and there was some small disappointment because of that on my end. Otherwise, I did mostly like this book.
How’s The Narration?
Do you watch the Simpsons? If not, why are you even here! Anyways, the guy who voices Fat Tony narrates Nelson Johnson’s Boardwalk Empire – Joe Mantegna. His voice narrating this is similar to his Simpsons character. I thought that the audiobook was well narrated – although I did listen to this at 1.25 speed. I just have been really into using that speed lately, so it went faster than the anticipated 11 hours and 28 minutes. In all, this was not a bad listen at all.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
This is the best GIF for the narration.
Other reviews of Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and the Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson:
Book A Week With Jen – “this is the book to read.”
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