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Meet you in Atlantic City
Travels in Springsteen's New Jersey
James Pettifer

published 2019 5.25" x 8" • 296 pages
ISBN 9781623719760 • paperback • $20.00


Bruce Springsteen—“The Boss”—has towered over the rock world since he shot to international fame with “Born to Run” and other classics in the early 1970s. He has always been an outspoken advocate of his home state of New Jersey, which has produced many stars of stage, screen, and the musical world, and was the backdrop for the global success of the award-winning The Sopranos TV series.

In this original narrative of travel and cultural analysis, historian and author James Pettifer makes his own philosophical journey in which Springsteen’s music becomes a metaphor for the nature of New Jersey society. Set within the kaleidoscope of life in the state with its rich and complex history, it takes place in the key year of 2007 with the release of the brilliant Magic album at the height of the Bush administration and against the background of the intensifying Iraq War.  

This book takes up Sopranos producer David Chase’s nostrum that New Jersey is a state of mind as much as a state, and explores the extraordinary loyalty it inspires among its cognoscenti and the derision from its detractors. In a place of acute social contradictions, driving energy and vast differences in wealth, the glittering intellectual world of Princeton is a short Turnpike drive away from some of the most dangerous urban areas in the United States. The Jersey Shore is also a recurrent theme, with its romantic history, sinister marshlands, vast and beautiful sand dunes, and violent winter storms.

In Meet You in Atlantic City James Pettifer has written a unique cultural history that will appeal to rock fans with its insights into the 2007/8 Magic album tour, the last to include founding E Street Band members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons. It is also a guide to the central role of New Jersey in American history generally, where decisive battles in the War of Independence were fought in and near Princeton and its more modern role as a seminal state where the influence of crime and gambling on society that led to the Trump presidency was already visible.

James Pettifer is an historian, author, and journalist. When he’s not hanging out in New Jersey, he teaches Balkan history at Oxford University. He is the author of several standard works on the Southern Balkans, Greece and Turkey. In 2007, he was Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University in New Jersey.

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