4th OF JULY, ASBURY PARK, A HISTORY OF THE PROMISED LAND
USA, 2005. In english.
256 pages. Hardcover.
By Daniel Wolff. 2006 paperback, 280 pages.
“Anyone familiar with Bruce Springsteen's music knows about the role place plays in his work, and no place more than Asbury Park, New Jersey, a seaside resort town that has seen many ups and downs and for Springsteen exists in imagination as well as reality. In this luminous history of Springsteen's Asbury Park, journalist, biographer, and poet Wolff tells the story of a promised land. This Asbury Park somehow inspired hope in people like Springsteen, who were able to see beyond its often shabby exterior to what once was and could be again. Asbury Park was also the hometown of Springsteen's fellow outsider, author Stephen Crane (1871-1900), who saw it as symbolic of both a still-young nation's ideals and the hypocrisy of late-nineteenth-century America. Contradictions are a part of Asbury Park's history. Established to honor Francis Asbury, the pioneer of American Methodism, the city was envisioned by founder James Bradley as a resort town. Despite its small size, it has embraced many paradoxical visions--model religious community, beach town, haven for music from ragtime to rock--and represented freedom, fun, and democracy, though also Northern racism, violence, and corruption. Writing about the idea of a place, Wolff creates popular history at its best. Springsteen fans will love it, and so will anyone interested in American social history.”
- June Sawyers, Booklist