Synopses & Reviews
Shortlisted for the 2015 Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize
Amazon Best Book of the Month, History andndash; October 2014
New York Postand#160;andldquo;must readandrdquo; andndash; October 2014
Coney Island, summer 1905: a new attraction opened at Luna Park. Within weeks it would be the talk of the nation.
For the first time,and#160;The Lost Tribe of Coney Islandand#160;unearths the incredible true story of the Igorrotes, a group of andldquo;headhunting, dog eatingandrdquo; tribespeople brought to America from the Philippines by the opportunistic showman Truman K. Hunt. At Luna Park, the g-string-clad Filipinos performed native dances and rituals before a wide-eyed public in a mocked-up tribal village. Millions of Americans flocked to see the tribespeople slaughter live dogs for their daily canine feasts and to hear thrilling tales of headhunting. The Igorrotes became a national sensationandmdash;they were written up in newspaper headlines, portrayed in cartoons, and even featured in advertising jingles, all fueled by Trumanandrsquo;s brilliant publicity stunts.
By the end of the summer season, the Igorrote show had made Truman a rich man. But his genius had a dark side and soon he would be on the run across America with the tribe in tow, pursued by ex-wives, creditors, Pinkerton detectives, and the tireless agents of American justice.
Award-winning journalist Claire Prentice brings this forgotten chapter in American history to life with vivid prose and rich historical detail. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the mercurial Truman Hunt; his ambitious, young Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; Fomoaley Ponci, the tribeandrsquo;s loquacious, self-important leader; Luna Park impresarios Fred Thompson and Elmer andldquo;Skipandrdquo; Dundy; and Frederick Barker, the government man dead set on bringing Truman to justice.
At its heart,and#160;The Lost Tribe of Coney Islandand#160;is a tale of what happens when two cultures collide in the pursuit of money, adventure, and the American Dream. It is a story that makes us question who is civilized and who is savage.
"Read Boardwalk Empire....Johnson spares no detail when painting a picture of the illegal activities that flourished in Atlantic City." Egg Harbor News (New Jersey)
andquot;Breaking new ground, Nelson Johnson gives a colorful account of the relationship between Frank Hague and Arthur Vanderbilt, leading to the adoption of the 1947 N.J. Constitution. This is a good read and an important book for anyone interested in N.J. history.andquot;
andquot;Nelson Johnsonandrsquo;s Battleground New Jersey takes a fresh look at the personal and political forces that brought the New Jersey Court system from a hodgepodge of ancient rules and and#39;Dickensian absurdityand#39; to what ultimately became a judicial model envied throughout the country. The book is a compelling narrative that both illuminates and entertains.andquot;
andquot;Nelson Johnsonandrsquo;s new book is a must for anyone interested not only in two of the most important New Jersey political actors in 20th century New Jersey (including new information on Arthur Vanderbilt) but also in the formative political events in those years that still affect us today.andquot;
andquot;Battleground New Jersey
is an enjoyable romp through an important era about which most people know little. Nelson Johnson brings to life people and events for which we have, at best, a hazy image. His balanced presentation of the two principals, Arthur Vanderbilt and Frank Hagueandmdash;conflicting in character as they areandmdash;is a reflection of his thorough research.andquot;
andquot;Johnson...disproves the theory that a book about the judiciary canand#39;t be crackling good.andquot;
Providing the inspiration and source material for the upcoming HBO series produced by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Terence Winter, this riveting and wide-reaching history explores the sordid past of Atlantic City — forever a freewheeling town long-dedicated to the fast buck — from the city's heyday as a Prohibition-era mecca of lawlessness to its rebirth as a legitimate casino resort in the modern era. A colorful cast of powerful characters, led by "Commodore" Kuehnle and "Nucky" Johnson, populates this stranger-than-fiction account of corrupt politics and the toxic power structure that grew out of guile, finesse, and extortion. Atlantic City's shadowy past — through its rise, fall, and rebirth — is given new light in this revealing, and often appalling, study of legislative abuse and organized crime.
The true story that inspired the HBO series!
Through most of the 20th century, Atlantic 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 Republican machine that dominated city politics and society.
In Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Johnson, Louis "the Commodore" Kuehnle, Frank "Hap" Farley, and Atlantic City itself spring to life in all their garish splendor. Author Nelson Johnson traces "AC" from its birth as a quiet seaside health resort, through the notorious backroom politics and power struggles, to the city's rebirth as an international entertainment and gambling mecca where anything goes.
Boardwalk Empire is the true story that inspired the epic HBO series starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald, with a pilot episode written by Terence Winter (The Sopranos) and directed by Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island).
New to the HBO Series Tie-in Edition:
- Foreword by Terence Winter, Emmy Award-winning writer of The Sopranos and Executive Producer of Boardwalk Empire on HBO
- 16-page photo insert featuring 34 full-color photos of actors, producers, and sets from the HBO archive
- New Afterword by author Nelson Johnson
Readers of Erik Larson will loveand#160;this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream:and#160;A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Islandand#8217;s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.
The Lost Tribe of Coney Islandand#160;unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of and#8220;headhunting, dog-eating savagesand#8221; from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as and#8220;human exhibitsand#8221; alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Islandand#8217;s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.
Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer and#8220;Skipand#8221; Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New Yorkand#8217;s social elite.and#160;The Lost Tribe ofand#160;Coney Island and#160;is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.
In Battleground New Jersey, historian and Boardwalk Empire author Nelson Johnson chronicles reforms to the system through the stories of Arthur T. Vanderbiltandmdash;the first chief justice of the stateandrsquo;s modern-era Supreme Courtandmdash;and Frank Hagueandmdash;former mayor of Jersey City. Although Vanderbilt and Hague clashed on matters of public policy and over the need to reform New Jerseyandrsquo;s antiquated and corrupt court system, they were two of the most powerful politicians in twentieth-century America.
New Jerseyandrsquo;s legal system was plagued with injustices from the time the system was established through the mid-twentieth century. In Battleground New Jersey
, historian and author of Boardwalk Empire
, Nelson Johnson chronicles reforms to the system through the dramatic stories of Arthur T. Vanderbiltandmdash;the first chief justice of the stateandrsquo;s modern-era Supreme Courtandmdash;and Frank Hagueandmdash;legendary mayor of Jersey City. Two of the most powerful politicians in twentieth-century America, Vanderbilt and Hague clashed on matters of public policy and over the need to reform New Jerseyandrsquo;s antiquated and corrupt court system. Their battles made headlines and eventually led to legal reform, transforming New Jerseyandrsquo;s court system into one of the most highly regarded in America.
Vanderbiltandrsquo;s power came through mastering the law, serving as dean of New York University Law School, preaching court reform as president of the American Bar Association, and organizing suburban voters before other politicians recognized their importance. Hague, a remarkably successful sixth-grade dropout, amassed his power by exploiting peopleandrsquo;s foibles, crushing his rivals, accumulating a fortune through extortion, subverting the law, and taking care of business in his own backyard. They were different ethnically, culturally, and temperamentally, but they shared the goals of power.
Relying upon previously unexamined personal files of Vanderbilt, Johnsonandrsquo;s engaging chronicle reveals the hatred the lawyer had for the mayor and the lengths Vanderbilt went to in an effort to destroy Hague. Battleground New Jersey illustrates the difficulty in adapting government to a changing world, and the vital role of independent courts in American society.and#160;
About the Author
Nelson Johnson practiced law for 30 years, during which time he was active in Atlantic City and Atlantic County politics. He is currently a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, sitting in the Civil Division of Atlantic County. He lives in Hammonton, New Jersey.
Terence Winter is an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter for his work on The Sopranos. Along with Martin Scorsese, he is currently an executive producer for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Prologueand#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Power Doesnand#39;t Corrupt: It Reveals
Chapter 1and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Sadieandrsquo;s Saga
Chapter 2and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Rosevilleandrsquo;s Prodigy
Chapter 3and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Lawyer as Public Person
Chapter 4and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; A Force in Four Worlds
Chapter 5and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Up from the Horseshoe
Chapter 6and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Celtic Chieftain
Chapter 7and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Clean Government versus Hagueism
Chapter 8and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Box 96: Arthur and David
Chapter 9and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Inventorandrsquo;s Son
Chapter 10and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Archbishop Shows His Gratitude
Chapter 11and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Haddonfieldandrsquo;s Mensch
Chapter 12and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Things Get Curious
Chapter 13and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Summer at Rutgers
Chapter 14and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Chief
Chapter 15and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Chief Supreme