Boardwalk Empire is another book you might enjoy since many may be familiar with the mega HBO hit series on which it’s loosely based. You will meet the real Nucky Johnson, “Thompson,” the man who ruled Atlantic City and Boardwalk Empire with an iron hand for thirty years. Here is an excerpt from the books back cover.
“Through most of the 20th century Alantic City was controlled by a powerful partnership of local politicians and racketeers. Funded by payoffs from gambling rooms, bars and brothels, this corrupt alliance reached full bloom during the reign of Enoch Nucky Johnson–the second of three bosses to head the machine that dominated city politics and society.
For those seeking a unique history of how Atlantic City came to be, Boardwalk Empire, the book, takes you through an amazing story of the City. You will learn from its wild days of being inhabited by the Lenni Lenepe Indians who called the island “Absegami” and who came to escape the heat, and on up until the time the gambling referendum passed and ushered in the era of casinos.
In between is the almost unbelievable story in Boardwalk Empire of a town run by “bosses who answered to no one and made up the rules of the game as they saw fit. Where other cities and towns throughout New Jersey were subject to Sunday Blue Laws and thus dry, Atlantic City paid no heed to these restrictions, thus the name Boardwalk Empire. Liquor, gambling and prostitution were all readily available to the visitor with the means to afford these pleasures. There were bars and clubs all over the City with an open door policy just waiting for the opportunity to take your money.
Boardwalk Empire explains how big name gangsters from other cities like New York and Chicago would come because it was established as a neutral site by Nucky Johnson and whoa to the troublemaker who got out of hand. Names like Al Capone, Waxy Gordon, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Willie Moretti etc. all came to Atlantic City for business and pleasure. To avoid Federal Agents, who might be trying to gain information from these gangsters, it was claimed they would actually roll up their pants legs, wade into the ocean to avoid detection, and hold meetings in knee deep water.
In Boardwalk Empire, you will meet Nucky Johnson, Louis “the Commodore Kuehnle, Frank S. “Hap” Farley and many other interesting characters as you witness Atlantic City spring to life in all its garish splendor.