The Boardwalk Jungle-Ovid Demaris (1986)

An absolutely fascinating history of Atlantic City from its beginnings through its 1950’s decline and the supposed rebirth with casino gambling. How the crime rate soared and homelessness rose to unheard of heights. In no way is this a dry account. The book is loaded with accounts of the Mafia wars for control and names names.

There are FBI transcripts and accounts of the Philadelphia murder spree from Angelo Bruno to Nicky Scarfo. You’ll read about crooked unions and how their pension funds were used to finance mobs from Chicago, Detroit and St.Louis…just to name a few.

Casino gambling was supposed to be the savior of the once proud ocean resort. The classic hotels were torn down and the past glamour was replaced by the modern glitz. You’ll read about the beginnings of people like Steve Wynn and the Golden Nugget to the coming to the East Coast of the top Vegas casino hotels.

If you wonder how they got away with it you’ll read about the trials that went nowhere and the witnesses that were rubbed out. There’s a good section about the Tropicana and how the skim works. No one comes out unscathed in this account. There are crooked cops, Senators, Congressmen, Mayors, CEO’s and others all on the take. You’ll also read about some very unflattering incidents involving Frank Sinatra.

Towards the end of the book Demaris brings in the first squeaky clean character, the thirty-seven year old Donald Trump.

This is not lurid sensationalism. Demaris lays it all out and you’ll wonder how so many got away with so much. This is the real Godfather saga. If you’re at all interested in how it all works, don’t miss this. It may go back to 1986 but it’s timeless.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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