Synopses & Reviews
With a writers keen eye, a longtime residents familiarity, and his own sly wit, acclaimed novelist Madison Smartt Bell leads us on a walk through his adopted hometown of Baltimore, a city where crab cakes, Edgar Allan Poe, hair extensions, and John Waters movies somehow coexist. From its founding before the Revolutionary War to its place in popular culture—thanks to seminal films like Barry Levinsons Diner, the television show Homicide, and bestselling books by George Pelecanos and Laura Lippman—Baltimore is America, and in Charm City
, Bell brings its story to vivid life.
First revealing how Baltimore received some of its nicknames—including “Charm City”—Bell sets off from his neighborhood of Cedarcroft and finds his way across the citys crossroads, joined periodically by a host of fellow Baltimoreans. Exploring Baltimores prominent role in history (it was here that Washington planned the battle of Yorktown and Francis Scott Key witnessed the “bombs bursting in air”), Bell takes us to such notable spots as the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill, as well as many of the undiscovered corners that give Baltimore its distinctive character. All the while, Charm City sheds deserved light onto a sometimes overlooked, occasionally eccentric, but always charming place.
With a novelists eye for the beauty of his adopted city, longtime resident Bell leads readers through the fascinating history of Baltimore. He presents what has been forgotten and overlooked about the city, finding the people and stories that evoke the splendor of the towns varied neighborhoods.
About the Author
MADISON SMARTT BELL has been a resident of Baltimore for more than two decades. The award-winning author of All Souls Rising, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Bell teaches at Goucher College, where he directs the Kratz Center for Creative Writing.