'Boardwalk Empire' Author Returning to CCC for New Presentation
The author of the book behind the popular HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” will compare the real Nucky Johnson of Atlantic City history to the fictional Nucky Thompson as portrayed in the series during his second appearance at Camden County College this year.
Nelson Johnson will present “Boardwalk Empire, Part II: Nucky Johnson is Back in Town and He Means Business” at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in Civic Hall, which is inside the Connector Building on the College’s Blackwood Campus in Gloucester Township. CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility is presenting the event, which will include a question-and-answer session and a book signing.
“The award-winning HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ attracts millions of viewers to a fictional version of Atlantic City fraught with violence and sex, which often embellishes the historical truth,” noted Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility director John Pesda. “Nelson Johnson, a gifted writer and speaker, will return to Camden County College to set the record straight with a fact-based account of the city and Nucky Johnson's role.”
Throughout most of the 20th century, Atlantic City was controlled by a powerful network of local politicians and racketeers who received payoffs from gambling rooms, bars and brothels. This corrupt alliance was at its height during the 30-year reign of Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, who was the second of three “bosses” to head the Republican machine that dominated city politics and society.
The television show is set during the 1920s and 1930s and focuses on a fictionalized version of the kingpin, who is called “Nucky Thompson” and is portrayed by Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Steve Buscemi. The show was based on a segment of the book that Nelson Johnson, who is no relation to Nucky, published in 2002.
As an attorney for the Atlantic City Planning Board in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnson was inspired first to understand the city and later to write an objective political history of it. His CCC talk will emphasize that the real Nucky was not a violent criminal who used organized crime and henchmen to eliminate his opponents as the series portrays. Rather, he used graft, handouts, jobs and the threats of boycotting businesses to run the city.
Admission to “Boardwalk Empire, Part II” is free and open to the public, but registration is recommended to ensure seating. To register or for further details, visit www.camdencc.edu/civiccenter; call (856) 227-7200, ext. 4333; or e-mail CCLRregistrations@camdencc.edu.
Published: November 15, 2011