Greater New Jersey
Living in the Shadow of Gotham
By Dennis E. Gale
(University of Pennsylvania Press, Paperback, 9780812219579, 190pp.)
Publication Date: December 2006
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Living within the influence of one of the largest and most important cities in the world, how does New Jersey define itself? Is it simply a region of commuters, or have communities created effective local governments and satisfying cultural activities for one of the most diverse populations in the country?In the state with the country's densest population, the region known as North Jersey has sacrificed more than 30 percent of its land area to the vast web of roads and highways that carry more than 300,000 commuters to work in New York. "Greater New Jersey" probes challenges posed to the identity of New Jersey by the New York-centered mass media, professional sports, and organized crime families, while examining pressures internal to the state itself, including extraordinary social diversity, high population, fragmented governments, extensive political corruption, and diminishing land and natural resources."Greater New Jersey" sets itself apart from other works about the state by virtue of the scope of its inquiry. While contemporary in outlook, the book underscores the role of history in shedding light on the Manhattan and New Jersey of today. Dennis E. Gale examines the complex interactions that knit together a region that has dual citizenship and argues that northern New Jersey is undergoing a gradual transformation to become symbolic of a new kind of suburban area, one that borrows culture, image, and economy from a metropolis but also maintains the day-to-day living patterns of heartland America in the face of rapid social change. Readers interested in the puzzling intricacies of modern life will find much to interest them in this account of a regional identity asserting itself in the face of a looming megalopolis.