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4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land

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4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Wonderfully evocative…a grand, sad story of racism and real estate, political hardball and seaside pleasure-seeking.”—A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review

When Bruce Springsteen called his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he introduced a generation of fans to a fallen seaside resort town that came to represent working-class American life. Starting with the towns founding as a religious promised land, music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a course through Asbury Parks 130 years of entwined social and musical history, in a story that captures all the allure and heartbreak of the American dream.

Daniel Wolff is the author of You Send Me: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke, which won the Ralph J. Gleason Award. His collaborations with photographer Ernest C. Withers include The Memphis Blues Again and Negro League Baseball. He was nominated for a 2003 Grammy for his linear notes to The Complete Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers; his journalism has appeared in Vogue, Doubletake, and The Nation; and his poetry in the Paris Review, the Partisan Review, and The Threepenny Review.
To a generation of rock 'n' roll fans, Bruce Springsteen made Asbury Park into a symbol of the “runaway American dream.” But Springsteen didn't invent the darkness at the edge of this fallen seaside town. 4th of July, Asbury Park reveals the rich and fascinating past behind Asbury Park's archetypal landscape.

 

"This is the history of a place that never existed," music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff begins. "This is a history of the promise land." Starting with the town's paradoxical founding as a religious amusement park, Wolff plots a course and musical history. John Philip Sousa, Stephen Crane, Count Basie, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are just a few of the legendary figures who passed through the town Springsteen was born to run from. From the sensational details of murder trials, Mob control, and "race riots" emerges a universal story of small-town America.

 

Told with the grace and pull of a rock 'n' roll anthem, Daniel Wolff's tour of Asbury Park captures all the allure and heartbreak of that long ride from glory days to gentrification.

"Wonderfully evocative . . . a grand, sad story of racism and real estate, political hardball and seaside pleasure-seeking."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times Book Review
"Wolff paints a well-researched, detailed portrait of South Jersey . . . Wolfe pushes the reader to care, making the summer boardwalk a joyous carnival and depicting the city's deterioration in a way that's tragic and unforgiving. His cast of characters includes John Phillip Sousa, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Stephen Crane, the KKK, and Bill Haley & His Comets."—Austin Chronicle 

 

"Wonderfully evocative . . . a grand, sad story of racism and real estate, political hardball and seaside pleasure-seeking."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times Book Review

 

"Anyone familiar with Bruce Springsteen's music knows about the role place plays in his work, and no place more than Asbury Park, New Jersey, a seaside resort town that has seen many ups and downs and for Springsteen exists in imagination as well as reality. In this luminous history of Springsteen's Asbury Park, journalist, biographer, and poet Wolff tells the story of a promised land. This Asbury Park somehow inspired hope in people like Springsteen, who were able to see beyond its often shabby exterior to what once was and could be again. Asbury Park was also the hometown of Springsteen's fellow outsider, author Stephen Crane (1871-1900), who saw it as symbolic of both a still-young nation's ideals and the hypocrisy of late-nineteenth-century America. Contradictions are a part of Asbury Park's history. Established to honor Francis Asbury, the pioneer of American Methodism, the city was envisioned by founder James Bradley as a resort town. Despite its small size, it has embraced many paradoxical visions—model religious community, beach town, haven for music from ragtime to rock—and represented freedom, fun, and democracy, though also Northern racism, violence, and corruption. Writing about the idea of a place, Wolff creates popular history at its best. Springsteen fans will love it, and so will anyone interested in American social history."—Booklist (starred review)

"Wolff weaves into his narrative the musical heritage of Sousa, Sinatra and Bill Haley to underscore the social changes affecting the town over time. Asbury Park's current renewal efforts are mired in troubles—but the song Wolff hears there is still one of hope."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

"Wonderfully evocative...a grand, sad story of racism and real estate, political hardball and seaside pleasure-seeking."--A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review

When Bruce Springsteen called his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he introduced a generation of fans to a fallen seaside resort town that came to represent working-class American life. Starting with the town's founding as a religious promised land, music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a course through Asbury Park's 130 years of entwined social and musical history, in a story that captures all the allure and heartbreak of the American dream.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781596911147
Subtitle:
A History of the Promised Land
Author:
Wolff, Daniel
Author:
Wolff, Daniel
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Middle Atlantic
Subject:
HIS036080
Subject:
General
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20060627
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.24 x 5.45 x 0.76 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » Americana » New England and Mid Atlantic
History and Social Science » Americana » Northeast
History and Social Science » World History » General

4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596911147 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"Wonderfully evocative...a grand, sad story of racism and real estate, political hardball and seaside pleasure-seeking."--A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review

When Bruce Springsteen called his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he introduced a generation of fans to a fallen seaside resort town that came to represent working-class American life. Starting with the town's founding as a religious promised land, music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a course through Asbury Park's 130 years of entwined social and musical history, in a story that captures all the allure and heartbreak of the American dream.

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