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The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption Hardcover – February 19, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a page-turner. You start out laughing and end up pounding the table for reform. May the book inspire those who care about New Jersey to imagine a better place."—Tom Curley, CEO, The Associated Press

"New Jersey is arguably America's most corrupt state, and it is not an achievement to be proud of, as Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure starkly demonstrate. Only the people of the Garden State can stop the jokes—both the ones elected to office and the ones told about the crooked truth of political life there."—Dr. Larry J. Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution and director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia

"A pair of seasoned investigative reporters catalogue New Jersey's epic political dishonesty. Ingle and McClure ... nail the backroom intrigues in impressive scope and detail."—Kirkus Reviews 

"It's difficult for an educator to get the idea across to students (without being too preachy) that we all need to be aware of our moral compasses and make sure from time to time that we don't drift off course. The Soprano State performs this task admirably. It is shock treatment for students who have grown up in a world of moral relativism. Many of the cases in the book involve people who probably didn't intend to steal from the public trough, but were only gradually drawn into this culture of corruption. One can't get such a message across to students using a typical undergraduate Political Science textbook.  I used the book last year as a voluntary assignment in my American Government class. Six students accepted the assignment.  All said that the book opened their eyes to a world they never knew existed. I plan on making the book a mandatory supplementary text for my 300-level State and Local Politics class."—Professor Bill Felix, Political Science, Rutgers University

"Ingle and McClure have been chasing the people, politics, and plundering for years in the best Ben Hecht Front Page style. Investigative journalism in New Jersey is not for the faint at heart, the lazy, or the impatient."—from the Foreword by Dick Hughes

From the Back Cover

It's Not a Joke

New Jersey leads the country in corruption

 

“Ingle and McClure have been chasing the people, politics,and plundering for years in the best Ben Hecht Front Page style. Investigative journalism in New Jersey is not for the faint at heart, the lazy, or the impatient.”

—from the Foreword by Dick Hughes 

 

“We’re often asked by people elsewhere if New Jersey residents are aware of what the rest of the country thinks and why they don’t do something about it. The answer to the first question is: They know. The second is harder. Do they like being the national butt of jokes? Do they wait for the day when they can get their share of graft? Are they too busy working more than one job to afford the extraordinary cost of living? Have they given up?”

—from The Soprano State 

 

“This book is a page-turner. You start out laughing and end up pounding the table for reform.  May the book inspire those who care about New Jersey to imagine a better place.”

—Tom Curley, CEO, The Associated Press

 

“New Jersey is arguably America’s most corrupt state, and it is not an
achievement to be proud of, as Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure starkly
demonstrate. Only the people of the Garden State can stop the jokes—both the ones elected to office and the ones told about the crooked truth of
political life there.”

—Dr. Larry J. Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution and director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia

 

This three-decade journey through the political and economic weeds of the Garden State, led by two of its finest journalists, will astound, outrage, and empower any American taxpayer.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312368941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312368944
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edcon Press LLC on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption
This is an excellent book. I am familiar with many of the people and events in the book and I am very impressed with the writing ability of the authors to present the material in a clear concise and fair way. I was only sorry the book ended but I appreciate the updates on [...] A MUST READ!
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Format: Hardcover
Absolutely the best nonfiction book I've read in several years!

"The Soprano State" reads like fiction and is must reading no matter where you live. Even if you're like me and live somewhere other than New Jersey, you'll find this book hilarious, incredulous and fascinating.

Ingle and McClure are crackerjack reporters who will take you on an unbelievable, wild ride.

A real page-turner, you won't want to put "The Soprano State" down.
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Format: Hardcover
For the average person living in New Jersey, this is a required book to read. Know who you are dealing with. This is a 5++ star book. Governor Corzine, in my opinion, is no better than those mentioned in the book. Even the legislatures are corrupted. After reading the book, you will wonder how can you clean up the State of New Jersey. One name in the book was a guy I graduated with from high school.

I know, this is a hot selling book, hard to find in any book stores. Get it here at Amazon.
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Format: Hardcover
Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure deserve a Pulitzer Prize for this fine piece of journalism. With NJ being a cesspool of corruption for over 35 years I am amazed the book is only an inch thick. I was expecting a the book to be the size of NY phone book, but then again the publisher probably edited many of the stories.

They should have called the book volume 1 because I am sure there will be thousands of pages to follow in the upcoming years. The big problem with the book is that people from out of state (lucky individuals) and people who are not up to date on NJ politics may pass this off as fiction.

It should be mandatory reading for every pupil in the United States. I give the book, Bob, and sandy an A+!! I could not put it down.

By the way, I am so disgusted with NJ that I will be moving to Delaware. Yes my friend, learn how to pump your own gas and go!! NJ is doomed!! Have a nice day
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As a former state employee who watched pay-to-play all the time, the book is factually accurate. However its very choppy and if you didn't live it the names and corruption schemes just run together. As other reviewers wrote, the multitude of stories of payoffs for jobs or government contracts became repetitive. They should have chose a few and expounded or limited the number of pages.

It is also heavily biased against Democrats when Republicans are just as guilty, they just operate at the county/municipal level. The reality of NJ politics is politicians are only aligned with a party depending on what district they are representing. A staunch conservative GOP rep in Hunterdon County would turn to a lefty liberal in Hudson County in a heartbeat if he could get a better job in government. Its just a meaningless title to them.

If you don't know Ingle he was extremely pro-Christie and it seems he wrote this book to sell Christie to the NJ public as a fresh new face to shake up Trenton. I read it Jan 2016 and it's hysterical how wrong Ingle was about Christie and how blind Ingle was about "US Attorney Christie." Also mentioning Samson as an impeccable public servant got a long laugh. "Wally Edge" (David Wildstein pre-Port Authority) also made the book as a fighter of reform. Ingle got the wool pulled over his eyes; I guess he never looked into CC when he was a Morris County Freeholder. Blinded by the light.

I hope Ingle picks up where he left off and writes a book on the Christie admin. Bridgegate is just the icing on the cake. The Port Authority slush fund and the numerous federal investigations outside of Bridgegate, cancelling a grand jury indictment on a donor, the happenings in Camden and AC, pension reform, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
Even if you live a continent away in Washington state, "The Soprano State" will amuse, educate and yes, horrify you. Authors Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure have put together an appalling catalog of the "worst of the worst" New Jersey politicians and public servants and their most outrageous shenanigans.
As the authors note, "why should such a wealth of lunacy and depravity" be enjoyed only by New Jersey? My personal favorite, in a chapter titled "All Aboard the Gravy Train," is an anecdote about how sometimes "the legislative gravy train delivers real gravy." In that case, New Jersey taxpayers coughed up $124,000 over three years to purchase 300 lunches each day the Legislature was in session to feed 80 members of the assembly, 40 senators _ and lobbyists. The lunches were trucked in from a well-connected restaurant 57 miles away!
¶ It's tempting for us outsiders to feel smug, but there's also a nagging worry: what if our politicians are just less obviously outrageous, and our reporters more lapdog and less pit bull?
¶ Beyond the entertainment value, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us that citizens anywhere can be fleeced by those we elect.
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