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Charm City: A Walk Through Baltimore (Crown Journeys) [Kindle Edition]

Madison Smartt Bell

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With a writer’s keen eye, a longtime resident’s 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 Levinson’s 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 city’s crossroads, joined periodically by a host of fellow Baltimoreans. Exploring Baltimore’s 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Über den Autor

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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 421 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 242 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0307342069
  • Verlag: Crown (6. November 2007)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000W9672E
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #857.138 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.8 von 5 Sternen  13 Rezensionen
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Smartt look at Baltimore 1. Januar 2008
Von Bob Sammarco - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Madison Smartt Bell's walking tour of Baltimore take us through a variety of neighborhoods, some well know and some rather obscure. Of course we get the low down on the touristy and trendy parts of town like Federal Hill, Fells Point, the Inner Harbor, and Canton.

With this city nearly 300 years old, Bell is able to sprinkle in an interesting look at its history with the descriptions of these places and how they've changed with gentrification.

Because of his local literary celebrity, Bell has access to some well-know locals and some colorful characters. For example, he visits a quaint, charming, but little-know part of town, Dickyville, with Laura Lippman, former Baltimore Sun reporter and now well-known mystery writer. She grew up in Dickeyville and provides insiders flavor to its description and historical context.

Bell, a guitarist, gives us a vivid sense of the Fells Point bar scene and sits in with a local band where we meet some great local characters. With his skill as a writer, Bell neatly weaves the long history of this area in with the local scene and its changing population.

Bell and I are close in age and both moved to Baltimore about the same time, more than twenty years ago. Reading this book took me back though these years and the many places that make Baltimore quirky and fun,with a unique mix of small city sense of place and big city attractions.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Wandering in B-More 2. April 2008
Von A. Ross - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Crown Journey series asks established writers to wander through a city or area they live in or know well, and then write about it in a way that introduces the outsider to that place. I've read two others in the series, Christopher Buckley's one on Washington, D.C. (my hometown), and Chuck Palahniuk's one on Portland, OR (where I went to college). The former is pretty terrible, focusing on the standard federal and historical haunts while mostly ignoring the 500,000+ people who actually live here. The latter does a pretty good job of capturing Portland, with an emphasis on the quirky. After D.C., Portland, San Francisco, and New York, Baltimore is probably the next city I know reasonably well -- it's only a 45 minute drive north, and I've probably visited it somewhere between 50-75 times since the early '80s.

Bell is a 20+ year resident of the Baltimore area, and arranges the book as a series of walks through various parts of the city in the company of friends steeped in local lore. Many of these areas (Fells Point, Inner Harbor, Canton, etc.) are well known tourist destinations, others (Dickeyville, north Charles Street) much less so. His general mode is to embark on his promenade and alternate descriptions of present-day street life and architecture with odds and ends of local history. While some of this historical context is interesting, it does drag the book down at times, as does his preoccupation with architecture.The book is much stronger when he focuses on social history, rather than the "founding fathers" stuff that tends to dominate.

Similarly, Bell is at his best when he turns his novelist's eye to the various bars and characters he encounters along the way, bringing them vividly to life in a way he simply can't with the historical material. The dominant theme is one of constant change and transformation, running from the great fire of 1904 that leveled most of the old town and required massive rebuilding, to the scandalous land grabs of the '60s, to the rapid-fire redevelopment/gentrification currently underway throughout the city. On the whole, a quick and readable introduction to the city for the uninitiated.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Not bad, but not exciting either 10. September 2009
Von G. Farrell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This isn't a bad book, but it isn't terribly enlightening either. Some of the author's choices seemed odd and based solely on his interests and those of his friends - whether they had anything to do with Baltimore or not. He spends a great deal of time writing about Gardel's supper club which was open for only a couple of years, hardly a Baltimore institution by any means. Suffice to say I've lived in this city for 12 years, and found nothing in this book that made me say - hmmm, I never knew that. Still I read it cover to cover and it filled an evenings worth of down time.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Written for locals 3. Mai 2008
Von D.O. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I enjoyed this book, though that's likely because I grew up a few blocks from Madison Bell, and his stories were like strolling through my childhood and adolescent days. I think the book is well-written, but ultimately, it is a narrative book about several walks around town (going south on York Road, north along Charles Street, east to Fells Point, and then west to an obscure tucked away neighborhood).

Once finished reading it, I gave it away to my brother, a rare occurrence because I usually hang onto my books. I'm not sure that the book would carry over well to someone not already familiar with Baltimore.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen OK Baltimore 28. Dezember 2009
Von JAK - Veröffentlicht auf
Verifizierter Kauf
I love Baltimore.I've been in the city many times and I would say it's one of Americas most interesting places.I've been a fan of Madison Smart Bell for years.This may be the 12th book written by him that I've read. I expected this to be a winning combination. Strangely it isn't.This is not a bad book.I must admit I expected more.Bell really doesn't have anything interesting to say about Baltimore.Or to put it another way, he's already said it in his novel Ten Indians.If Bell and Baltimore interest you , you'll want to read this book, but if only one of the two catches your interest, I'd pass.
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