Photo by Earl – What I Saw 2.0 used under a Creative Commons license.
Madison Smartt Bell, Charm City (Crown Journeys, 2007).
Each of Charm City‘s four chapters describes a walk through Baltimore: along Greenmount Avenue and Charles Street, and in Fells Point and Dickeyville. Bell knows his way around, he knows some useful local experts, and he has done his homework, which he slips into his descriptions of the buildings, businesses and places he passes. These are not walking trips for tourists, per se; Bell is more interested in Baltimore’s neighborhoods, and in grittier parts of town than tourists will see on the rebuilt waterfront. The city’s slow evolution is a recurring theme.
Two reviews from national newspapers: Mark Kamine in The New York Times Book Review, and Russ Smith in The Wall Street Journal. Two reviews from Baltimore: Robbie Whelan in Baltimore’s City Paper, and David Dudley for Urbanite Baltimore (scroll down). Russ Smith blogs about the book. And in the Express, Kris Coronado got Bell to recommend some local eats.