Synopses & Reviews
In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality.
Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artistsandmdash; regulars at Pfaffand#8217;s Saloon in Manhattanandmdash;rightly considered Americaand#8217;s original Bohemians. Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth; trailblazing standandndash;up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and even Abraham Lincoln. This vibrant tale, packed with original research, offers the pleasures of a great group biography like The Banquet Years or The Metaphysical Club. Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian cultureandmdash;imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloonandmdash;seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that thrives to this day.
Kirkus Reviews, BEA and ALA Book Guide, 5/15/14
[An] entertaining cultural history
The authors solid research into the connections of these curiously varied men and women makes this a wonderful story of one of the worlds odd little cultural cliques.”
Brilliant portrait of a time and place that launched American Bohemia and liberated the genius of Walt Whitman
About the Author
Justin Martin is the author of three highly praised previous biographies: Greenspan: the Man behind Money, Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, and Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. As one of the few journalists to gain access to Greenspan, Martin produced a best-selling biography of the secretive Fed chairman, selected as a notable book by the New York Times Book Review. Martinand#8217;s Nader biography served as a primary source for An Unreasonable Man , an Academy Awardand#150;nominated documentary. Genius of Place, the first full scale biography of Olmsted received glowing reviews nationally. Martinand#8217;s articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fortune, Newsweek, and the San Francisco Chronicle .