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Battleground New Jersey: Vanderbilt, Hague and Their Fight for Justice

“Battleground” unearths the “political dirt” that preceded the adoption of New Jersey’s present-day constitution and judicial system. The story told in Battleground recounts the hatred, and battles over public policy between the two most powerful politicians of 20th Century New Jersey, Newark Republican reform lawyer, Arthur Vanderbilt, and Democratic mayor of Jersey City, Frank Hague. Sparks flare between Vanderbilt the ivy league lawyer versus Hague, the street-smart power broker. Judge Johnson’s history brings to life the struggles that led to New Jersey’s court system being recognized one of the best in the nation.

The Northside:

African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City

“The Northside,” the sequel to “B/E” brings the untold story of Atlantic City’s black community vividly to life, from the arrival of the first African Americans to Absecon Island in the early 19th Century through the glory days of the “World’s Playground.” Exploited for their labor and banished to “the north side of the railroad tracks” black people built a city within a city where their culture flourished. Drawing on personal interviews and archival research, Johnson demonstrates, “African Americans built Atlantic City. Remove them from its history and the town we know today never comes to be.”

This book is under consideration for a documentary.

Boardwalk Empire:

The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City

Throughout most of the 20th Century, Atlantic City was controlled by a powerful partnership of local politicians and racketeers.  Funded by payoffs from gambling rooms, bars and brothels, this corrupt alliance reached full bloom during the reign of Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, the second of three bosses to head the Republican machine that dominated city politics and the entire community. Johnson traces “AC” from its birth as a quiet seaside health resort in the 19th Century, to present day.

This is the book that inspired the HBO series of the same name.

Upcoming Writing Projects

  • Currently conducting research and working on an outline toward writing a book on my generation, the “Baby Boomers.” My working title is Troubled Sleep: The Uneasy Conscience of a Baby Boomer. I’m concerned about the mess we are leaving behind. If we don’t begin to make some serious changes soon, our grandchildren will cuss us when we are gone.

  • Currently conducting research and working on an outline toward writing a book on people I have known and read about during my life, who have served as role models for how to lead, and who have failed at leadership. My working title is Hadrian’s Wall: Lessons in Restraint and the Lack Thereof.

  • Conducting preliminary research and reading on a life-long passion, namely, the African-American experience and its indispensable role in the history of the United States. My working title, is Indispensable: Slavery Made the American Revolution Possible.

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