The Village, 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues by John Strausbaugh (broadcast ) If you have ever wondered what Greenwich Village is about this book will stagger your imaginings. If you have been a Village habitué at some time this book will make you homesick. If you have lived in the Village all your life this book will tell you things you never knew.
Rivaling the Left bank of Paris in its notoriety and effect on social and artistic mores, Greenwich Village may well be the most famous neighborhood in the world. And Strausbaugh lays it all out for us in colorful detail starting with the first settlers in the early 1600’s, establishing that Greenwich Village was “a zone of rogues and outcasts from the start”. Demonstrating the best of ‘characterized’ social history this is a book for visiting the way one would a particularly engaging and outlandish friend who might alarm you but never fail to entertain you.
Names are named and tales are told about those whose lives and personalities shaped not only the story of Greenwich Village but of America itself. Comfortably written it welcomes the reader to dip into its riches and they are many. As David Amram noted “With the publication of John Strausbaugh’s brilliant new book, the whole world is invited to come down below Fourteenth Street to feel at home in the Village.”