The stomping ground of poet Frank O’Hara, radical Emma Goldman, legendary band The Velvet Underground, and myriad other leaders, cultural figures, and vivid personalities, St. Marks Place has fostered one avant-garde after another. Calhoun, a native of this distinctive slice of Manhattan, is a journalist who has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The New York Post, and other publications; for this vivid history of a legendary neighborhood she has interviewed a wide range of St. Marks’s denizens, combed archives, and gathered telling images and many stories.
From the end of the Civil War through the 1940s, Beale Street was the center of cultural, political, and criminal life in Memphis. Lauterbach, whose first book, The Chitlin’ Circuit, chronicled the rise of rock-and-roll as a history of black juke joints, tells Beale Street’s lively story by following some of its most colorful characters, including W.C. Handy, “Father of the Blues,” the political boss, E.H. Crump, activist and journalist Ida B. Wells, and Robert Church, the South’s first black millionaire.