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The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, a History of Greenwich Village Hardcover – April 9, 2013


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The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, a History of Greenwich Village + Greenwich Village (Images of America) + Exploring the Original West Village
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062078194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062078193
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Cultural journalist Strausbaugh (Sissy Nation, 2008), a man of rattling opinions, makes all the legends about Greenwich Village and its bohemians new and vital in his sizzling and capacious history, by virtue of his archaeologically deep and patient research, vigorous style, and keen admiration for those who made the Village a world-altering “cultural engine.” He has retrieved stories of the forgotten and the famous, from the African Americans who farmed the bucolic land in the 1600s to such luminaries as Margaret Sanger, Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Baldwin, Jackson Pollock, and Bob Dylan. Strausbaugh cleverly anchors each phase in his ever-branching chronicle to the hot spot of the time, from Pfaff’s, in Walt Whitman’s era, to the White Horse Tavern, where Dylan Thomas downed his last whiskey; the Cedar Street Tavern, hangout of the abstract expressionists; and the writers’ bar, the Lion’s Head, where Norman Mailer held court. Strausbaugh goes into astounding detail in his coverage of the Village’s radical politics and quest for sexual freedom, paying particular attention to its thriving homosexual community. Though now, as Strausbaugh duly records, the Village is a sanitized bastion of the wealthy, in its golden days, its diverse artists “collided and fused like subatomic particles in an accelerator, unleashing an explosion of creativity” that is still sending out shock waves. --Donna Seaman

Review

“[A] loving and thoroughly researched look at what [Strausbaugh] calls ‘a zone of rogues and outcasts from the start.’ . . . Fine social history humanized with a sort of paradise-lost wistfulness.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Strausbaugh has produced the definitive history of America’s bohemian wellspring and prototypical modern neighborhood with all the verve and fun and rigor it deserves.” (Kurt Andersen, bestselling author of True Believers and Heyday)

“A great, sprawling saga of genius and vice in New York City’s Greenwich Village. John Strausbaugh captures Bohemia at its best and level worst, reminding us why we love this place. His account is breathtaking.” (Teresa Carpenter, bestselling author of New York Diaries)

“The very best kind of cultural history: Literate, lucid, erudite, and entertaining.” (Michael Lesy, author of Murder City: The Bloody History of Chicago in the Twenties)

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Customer Reviews

The author researched his work well.
Cheryl Mueller
Strausbaugh's writing is sharply crafted, witty and warm - his love for the subject shines through.
D. Ramo
The book is well-written and easy to read.
Deadhead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Just on April 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Intimate, passionate and intense, Strausbaugh's Village Tell-all is packed with outlandish, inspiring and often ghoulish commentary from famous villagers like Dylan (who is slowly roasted to a crisp in the words of fellow bohemians), Bodenheim, Hendrix, Ginsberg, Arendt, Kerouac, Amram, Mailer and Monroe, and not so famous: mob insiders, bought cops, private detectives, drag queens, and the impossibly talented, whose flames flashed briefly before burning out. If you've lived in the Village or visited, your own memories will hold you at the epicenter a resounding tale that grows into a full tour-de-force hurricane of personalities and action so exactingly researched that only the choicest details seem to have made it to print. If you missed the Village, explore its winding, off-the-grid streets and alleys now, as its lowliest of characters and most highly acclaimed, relive personal moments under Strausbaugh's vivid orchestration. And whether the concert takes place late at night at the Cedar Tavern, during Mailer's debilitating mornings after (his book being declared a bestseller) and his labored birthing of the Village Voice, at he back door of the Golden Rule Pleasure Club, with Marcel Duchamp and friends atop the Washington Arch declaring the independence of the "Republic of Greenwich Village," or entering a dark, rat-infested west end shed at the end of crumbling pier 46, you'll become, as I did, overwhelmed by experiences rendered in so off-the-cuff a style that they always take you by surprise. Each chapter pulls you into in an ambient scene so real you can hardly believe it. Many of Strausbaugh's characters tell their secrets as though they can hardly believe they lived through them. Some didn't. The Village is history at its best, reality more awe-inspiring, more alluring, more bizarre and breathtaking than any fiction will ever be.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harvey Black on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've not completed the book, but am in general enjoying it. It is well-written and filled with fascinating information.
The big drawback is the absence of any map. This is a book about a place. Yet a reader gets only the sketchiest idea of street locations,how they link with one another,how Greenwich Village fits into to the rest of Manhattan.
The failure to include a map is a significant lack in the book and tarnishes my overall enjoyment of it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Rosa VINE VOICE on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having lived in The Village many years ago during some of its most interesting years, I was relieved to not find my name in this comprehensive, entertaining, authoritative work. But I did find plenty of people, places, and events fondly remembered if only for passing or connecting in only the most incidental of ways. Those afternoons in Washington Square, all those earnest young folksingers testing out their new guitars (and voices), the drummers, old men playing chess, bald-headed Hare Krishnas dancing in golden silks ... What a time it was!

But there's far more to the history of The Village than that, and this book is an easy window into that history. Fortunately the hardbound version boasts type large enough for easy reading by the aging eyes of those of us privileged enough to have been there, however briefly.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bernardin on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot image a more thorough and engaging book coming out about about GV. I have lived there for almost forty years and am quite knowledgeable about the area. But this book is so loaded with insights and details that it nothing short of mind blowing. I simply cannot imagine how the author managed to research and organize the material he has presented. I especially appreciate the specific address and dates of who-lived-where and when. Each section is loaded with short biographies of an incredible cast of characters. A great big thanks to Mr. Strausbaugh for the hundreds (thousands) of hours it must have taken to pull this off. Very much recommended for anyone who wants to learn about GV...or, actually, the history of America. What happend in GV filtered out to the rest of the country and for that reason alone, it is a must read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Ramo on May 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant commentary and lively storytelling make this book THE summer read for those interested in one of the most fascinating and culturally influential places in the world.

Strausbaugh's writing is sharply crafted, witty and warm - his love for the subject shines through.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie B on October 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I am a lover of New York city and hoped that this book would really give me a good impression of the evolution of Greenwich village through the years. The absence of a map is a critical mistake. I found myself checking a map on my cell phone very often. Proportionality is a key writing issue in the book. Some chapters are dedicated to one or two people (like Andy Warhol's would be assasin) and other chapters to a whole movement. Real analysis of the life of GV would have made this book a true hit, but the lack of insight into the real meaning of the place and the lives of it's residents made it a very shallow book. A true historian knows the facts and then is able to move beyond them to really figure out the truth and meaning of events, places, and people. This didn't cut it. Don't waste your time and find a better history book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Quasi Modem on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not just for New Yorkers! This is a fascinating account of the history of Greenwich Village - from it's early history through recent times. The array of artists, musicians, poets, authors, political figures, and other influential people is remarkable. The geographic aspect of the area is also quite interesting. A truly wonderful insight to a very unique place. Highly recommend.
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