The Inevitable Destruction and Reconstruction of the Jersey Shore
Diane C. Bates, Rutgers University Press Softcover $27.95 (180pp), 978-0-8135-7339-7
In a concise but meaningful way, Superstorm Sandy summarizes the state of New Jersey’s response to 2012’s devastating Hurricane Sandy. To do this, the book examines the state from historical, political, and several socioeconomic perspectives to determine how its circumstances impacted its response.
The book references climate change in its conclusion, but primarily focuses on the sociological fallout of Superstorm Sandy along the New Jersey shore. It also references the recent rise of tandem environmental and sociological areas of study. Analysis of storm resiliency between different classes features prominently throughout the book, especially highlighting the historic tension between New Jersey’s blue-collar year-round residents, who produced the likes of Bruce Springsteen, and the wealthier tourists from out-of-state who make the resorts, vacation homes, and boardwalks such a success. In examining the roots of New Jersey’s storm response, Bates tracks historical data sets, including ethnic migrations and the rise of casinos, to provide a framework for the community-level response to Sandy. The result is a comprehensive view of the entire state from its foundation to the modern day. While the book is useful as an examination of the roots of the federal, state, and local reaction to Sandy, it could almost stand alone as a quick socioeconomic history of the entire state of New Jersey.
The final chapter, where the author discusses her family’s experience with the storm, is especially useful in that it places the previous, more cerebral chapters into immediate context.