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The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture…
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The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption

by Bob Ingle

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While the title of this book is, obviously, a reference to the HBO show about a mob family, the bulk of The Soprano State describes the corruption and graft within the New Jersey state political system itself. New Jersey government, from municipalities through the county machines and up into the statewide levels and including the judicial system and the governor's mansion, is in one way or another crooked through and through in a way that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Union leadership is implicated as well, and, yes, there really is a serious amount of mob influence in the Garden State.

The history is all laid out here by Ingle and McClure, long-time corruption hunting New Jersey journalists. The book is, in some ways, not that compelling reading, because it is essentially a recitation of one faulty, corrupt system and politician after another. But the shear size and pervasiveness of the problem after awhile becomes fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I suppose this is all really only of interest to people with a direct interest in the life of New Jersey. Although I now live in California, I am a Jersey native, so I'm in that camp.

Interestingly, one of the few public figures who comes off well in this book is U.S. prosecutor Chris Christie, who is shown to be intent in rooting out and prosecuting the corruption whenever he can make a case. Christie is now the state's governor, one of the recent spate of hard-line right wing politicians to take office across the U.S. Whether he is now waging the same battle against corruption from the governor's office that he did as a DA, or whether he has followed the lead of previous governors who joined the patronage party once gaining office, I have no idea from this far remove. ( )
  rocketjk | Mar 27, 2011 |
A well researched account of political corruption in New Jersey. Despite attempts by the authors to show some silver lining to the situation in the fact that many of the politicians written about in this book were brought to justice, the reader is left with the feeling of hopelessness in the face of such systemic problems. An entire chapter dedicated to a path forward would have made the book a better addition to the public discourse instead of another depressing reminder of how bad things are. ( )
  edifiglia | Jul 8, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312368941, Hardcover)

The Soprano State details the you-couldn't-make-this-up true story of the corruption that has pervaded New Jersey politics, government, and business for the past thirty years. From Jimmy Hoffa purportedly being buried somewhere beneath the end zone in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, through allegations of a thoroughly corrupt medical and dental university, through Mafia influence at all levels, to a governor who suddenly declares himself a “gay American” and resigns, the Garden State might indeed be better named after the HBO mobsters.

Where else would:

-    A state attorney general show up after police pulled over her boyfriend who was driving without a valid license?

-    A state senator and mayor of Newark (the same guy) spend thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a junket to Rio days before leaving office?

-    A politically connected developer hire a prostitute to tape sex acts with his own brother-in-law and then send the tape to his sister?

Only in the Soprano State.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Details the true story of the corruption that has pervaded New Jersey politics, government, and business for the past thirty years. From Jimmy Hoffa purportedly being buried somewhere beneath the end zone in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, through allegations of a thoroughly corrupt medical and dental university, through Mafia influence at all levels, to a governor who suddenly declares himself a "gay American" and resigns, the Garden State might indeed be better named after the HBO mobsters.--From publisher description.… (more)

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