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This book is a history of several literary figures who were regular patrons of Pfaffs Saloon, a mid-nineteenth century literary hangout in the area that would become Greenwich Village. It follows the lives and careers of Walt Whitman as well as several other figures in the literary circle around Pfaffs. The book is full of colorful detail, and is filled with quotes from literary sources of the time. It's a great account of New York's early literary scene as well as a biography of several characters who were part of Whitman's literary circle.
What a fantastic book! I chose this after reading Justin Martin's biography of Frederick Law Olmsted. That book was a little on the slow side, but this one moves like a freight train. It's filled with zany characters and the portrait of Walt Whitman that arises is so tender and moving. I was sad when the book was over. Simply superb.
The reader is fairly average. He reads ponderously and worse, there are a lot of French words and phrases in the book and he butchers them.
Still that doesn't detract too much from this great read.