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Four Streets and a Square
From a Sibert Medalist comes the epic story of Manhattan—a magical, maddening island “for all” and a microcosm of America.
A veteran nonfiction storyteller dives deep into the four-hundred-year history of Manhattan to map the island’s unexpected intersections. Focusing on the evolution of four streets and a square (Wall Street, 42nd Street, West 4th Street, 125th Street, and Union Square) Marc Aronson explores how new ideas and forms of art evolved from social blending. Centuries of conflict—among original Americans and Europeans, slavers and the enslaved, rich and poor, immigrants and native-born—produced segregation, oppression, and violence, but also new ways of speaking, singing, and being American. From the Harlem Renaissance to Hammerstein, from gay pride in the Village to political clashes at Tammany Hall, this clear-eyed pageant of the island’s joys and struggles is, above all, a love song to Manhattan’s triumphs.
Marc Aronson is an award-winning author and editor whose books include 1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change and1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change, both coedited by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; War Is. . .: Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk About War, coedited by Patty Campbell; and Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies. He is part of the graduate faculty at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Born in Manhattan, he now lives in New Jersey.