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American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine (Rivergate Regionals Collection) Hardcover – September 27, 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine (Rivergate Regionals Collection) + The Life & Times of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague + The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America's First Superhighway
Price for all three: $55.65

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Product Details

  • Series: Rivergate Regionals Collection
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Rivergate Books (September 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813562139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813562131
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A smartly written chronicle studded with serio-comic vignettes, a narrative of greed and violence, and the thorough research of an author who clearly relishes his subject." (Jonathan E. Lazarus, The Star-Ledger)

"Forget the Chris Christie saga. Between seasons of 'Boardwalk Empire,' readers can catch up on the history of New Jersey politics with Steven Hart's 'American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine.' (Sam Roberts, The New York Times)

"A smartly written chronicle studded with serio-comic vignettes, a narrative of greed and violence, and the thorough research of an author who clearly relishes his subject."
(Star-Ledger 2013-10-06)

"Hart’s tale of the rise and fall of these legendary bosses is shot through with crisp insights that can only come from decades covering the murky political swamps of Jersey."
(Seamus McGraw author of The End of Country 2013-04-02)

"Combining a writer's eye for detail and a historian's breadth of perspective, Hart gives life to Jersey's two most notorious characters—and the magnificently corrupt worlds they created."
(Helene Stapinski author of Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History 2012-04-03)

About the Author

STEVEN HART is a journalist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Salon. He is the author of The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America’s First Superhighway and two novels. He has been a featured guest on National Public Radio’s On the Media and on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show and The Leonard Lopate Show.


More About the Author

Journalist and freelance writer Steven Hart is the author of The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America's First Superhighway, a widely praised narrative history published in 2007 by The New Press. His next nonfiction book will be American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine, to be published by Rutgers University Press. His first novel, a thriller called We All Fall Down, was published in 2011 by Black Angel Press. His second novel, a dark psychological thriller called Echo, will be published in 2013, as will an essay collection, Let the Devil Speak: Articles, Essays, and Incitements. Hart has been a featured guest on National Public Radio, and his freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the online magazine Salon. He lives in Central New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David McDonough on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This the real story of Nucky Johnson (aka Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire) and New Jersey's other demogod, Frank "I Am the Law" Hague. This guys ruled New Jersey as political bosses in the early to mid 20th Century, and their tactics and dubious deeds still are felt today. Hart, who wrote so well about the making of the Pulaski Skyway in "The Last Three Miles" has a historian's curiosity and a novelist's sensibility, and makes his subject come alive. This is history as it should be written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brianl15 on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I bought the book for two reasons. First, I really enjoy Boardwalk Empire, the HBO series about Atlantic City and Nucky Thompson who in real life was Nucky Johnson, so I wanted to know about the real person. Second, Steven Hart was a classmate of mine from college too many years ago.
Also to be honest, when I got the book I was going to skip the parts about Frank Hague, the other subject in American Dictator, but after a few pages I ended up reading about him because Steven Hart is a really good storyteller.
And that is what it comes down to. A really good non-fiction book can be about a topic that you have a partial interest in and because of the storytelling, it grabs you and you end up reading every page.
If you have any interest in politics and the machines, especially in Jersey, this is a great book for you.
It is not a long book (a mere 162 pages). Unlike other historical books you don’t get half way through it and wonder if there was an editor involved.
By the end of the book I was comparing Atlantic City to my hometown, New York City and seeing modern day parallels in terms of planning for the future.
If you like Boardwalk Empire, be forewarned, this is the real story and the characters are different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Virgil Scudder on April 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This study of two huge power brokers is not only an example of good story-telling, it also sheds a lot of light on American and New Jersey politics. It's the best kind of book, one that teaches while it entertains. The hard-copy version has some excellent pictures and is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William A. George II on March 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The True story of Nucky Johnson(Thompson) and corruption in Nj. One doesn't realize how extensive corruption was/is in our society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anton Gruenewald on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book grew out of Hart's fascinating Last Three Miles, the story of the infamous Pulaski Skyway, that monstrous highway that will probably outlast the common cockroach. Jersey City mayor Frank Hague played a outsized role in the construction of the Skyway, but that's just one part of his legacy as the consummate machine politician. Hague is compared and contrasted with his contemporary in the southern part of New Jersey, Nucky Johnson, the flamboyant boss of the Atlantic City area.

Hart uses his journalist chops to write concise, yet vivid portrayals of the bosses, their turfs, and their times. A great read and reference for students of politics, particularly that unique style know as Jersey politics, and the growth and decay of the urban areas of the northeast.
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