Meet You in Atlantic City

Travels in Springsteen's New Jersey

James Pettifer

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 international success of award-winning The Sopranos TV series.

In this remarkable narrative of travel and cultural history, Oxford historian and author James Pettifer makes his own philosophical journey as a visiting scholar at Princeton University, where 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 explores the extraordinary loyalty New Jersey inspires among its cognoscenti as well as 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 literary analysis of the 2007/8 Magic album tour, the last to include founder 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 where more recently the influence of crime and gambling on the social and economic forces that led to the Trump presidency was already in evidence.

James Pettifer teaches Balkan history at Oxford University and 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, New Jersey.

£12.99 paper

£25 hardback

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October 2018
320 pp

PB ISBN: 9781909930704

HB ISBN: 9781909930711