‘Boadwalk Empire’ Author Speaking at Camden County College
The author of the book behind the popular HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” will discuss the Atlantic City portrayed in both during an appearance at Camden County College.
Writer Nelson Johnson will present “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City” at 7 p.m. April 14 in Civic Hall, which is located inside the Connector Building on the Blackwood Campus in Gloucester Township. CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility is presenting the event, which will include a question-and-answer session.
Throughout most of the 20th century, Atlantic City was controlled by a powerful network of local politicians and racketeers who received payoffs from gambling rooms, bars and brothels. This corrupt alliance was at its height during the 30-year reign of Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, who was the second of three “bosses” to head the Republican machine that dominated city politics and society.
The television show is set during the 1920s and 1930s and focuses on a fictionalized version of the kingpin, who is called “Nucky Thompson” and portrayed by Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Steve Buscemi. The show was based on a segment of the book by Nelson Johnson, who is no relation to Nucky.
As an attorney for the Atlantic City Planning Board when the casinos were on their way into town in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnson was inspired first to understand the city and later to write an objective political history of it. He completed the book’s interviews, research and writing over a span of nearly 20 years, and Boardwalk Empire was printed by Medford’s Plexus Publishing Inc. in 2002.
Since then, the book has sold nearly 100,000 copies and is being used in urban history courses at three New Jersey institutions of higher education: Princeton University, Rutgers University and Richard Stockton College. Nelson’s second book, The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City was published in 2010.
Admission to “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City” is free and open to the public, but registration is recommended to ensure seating. To register or for additional information, visit www.camdencc.edu/civiccenter; call (856) 227-7200, ext. 4333; or e-mail CCLRregistrations@camdencc.edu.
Published: March 17, 2011