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Similar in general content to Boardwalk Empire, The Northside is a blend of history and memoir with a good deal of nostalgia tossed in for good measure. It is sometimes hard to tell whether the author is speaking from personal experience or those of other people. It isn't by any means a bad book, but it isn't great either.
It is also not easy to keep track of time and place, or for that matter, who is doing what.
This is another one of those books that I really wanted to like a lot, but ended up disappointed. It almost caught fire ... it was almost exciting. But almost wasn't quite enough. In the end, it was interesting, but it never ignited into compelling. The narrator was good, with a lazy drawl that worked well for many of the story's colorful characters. But again, despite being good, she never rose to better than good.
It's a very anecdotal history. Lots of stories within stories. I wish it had been more dynamically read, more energetically told, more focused on history and less on the personal histories of individuals. Or maybe it was that the author tried to do too many things at the same time and wound up with a rather diffuse story that takes a lot of side trips into the politics and culture of the times.Interesting, but kind of disorganized.
Still, you won't feel you've wasted your credit if you buy it.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This book is a corollary to the author's BOARDWALK EMPIRE. Although it is located in Atlantic City, that location is often used to extend the story to a national scope. As an example, the story of baseball great "Pop" Lloyd is used to summarize the history of Negro Baseball in the country. As a resident of New Jersey and having visited Atlantic City as a young man, and having watched HBOs Boardwalk Empire, I found the book informative, but doubt that it is for everyone.