4th of July, Asbury Park
A History of the Promised LandBook - 2005
A colorful history of Asbury Park, New Jersey, provides a chronicle of the evolution of the seaside resort town from its founding as a religious commune through 130 years of social, cultural, and musical development, offering tidbits of local history, profiles of the celebrities who passed through, its decline into blight, and the potential for its future. 25,000 first printing.
The story of the boardwalk town Bruce Springsteen made famous-and a quintessential portrait of small-town American democracy.
When Bruce Springsteen called his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he introduced a generation of fans to a fallen seaside resort town that came to represent working-class American life. But behind this archetypal small-town landscape lies a complicated past.
Starting with the town's founding as a religious promised land, music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a course through 130 years of entwined social and musical history, touching on John Philip Sousa, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, and Frankie Lymon on the way to the town Bruce was born to run from. Out of the details of local history-the boardwalk in the Gilded Age; the celebrities who passed through, from Stephen Crane to Martin Luther King; sensational murder trials; the birth of Mob control; and a devastating mid-century "race riot"-emerges a universal story of one small town's fortunes. Told with grace and full of fascinating detail, Daniel Wolff's tour across thirteen decades of the Fourth of July in Asbury Park captures all the allure and heartbreak of the American dream reduced to blight and decay, with gentrification as the one hope for a return to its glory days.
Music journalist Wolff tells the history of Asbury Park, New Jersey through successive portraits of the town as it existed on succeeding Fourths of July (and one American Day). His narrative, which frequently references the music of Asbury Park's native son, Bruce Springsteen, and other balladeers of Americana, echoes the words of another of the city's native sons, writer Stephen Crane, who said: "From the very beginning, Asbury Park was a symbol of the nation's hopes and hypocrisy." Wolff describes the semi-utopic origins of the city; the imageries of the American dream that were used to promote tourism to the town; and the class, race, and ethnic divisions that frequently gave the lie to both. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Blackwell North Amer
To a generation of rock 'n' roll fans, Bruce Springsteen made Asbury Park into a symbol of the "runaway American dream." But Springsteen didn't invent the darkness at the edge of this fallen seaside town. 4th of July, Asbury Park reveals the past behind Asbury Park's archetypal landscape.
Starting with the town's paradoxical founding as a religious amusement park, Daniel Wolff plots a course through 130 years of entwined social and musical history. John Philip Sousa, Stephen Crane, Count Basie, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are just a few of the legendary figures who passed through the town Springsteen was born to run from. From the sensational details of murder trials, Mob control, and "race riots" emerges a universal story of small-town America. Daniel Wolff's tour of Asbury Park captures all the allure and heartbreak of that long ride from glory days to gentrification.
A history of Asbury Park, New Jersey, chronicles the evolution of the seaside town from its founding as a religious commune through more than a century of social and cultural development, its decline into blight, and the potential for its future.