The Address Book
Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2021
A TIME Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020
Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Award 2020
‘Deirdre Mask’s book was just up my Strasse, alley, avenue and boulevard.’ -Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type
‘Fascinating … intelligent but thoroughly accessible … full of surprises’ – Sunday Times
When most people think about street addresses they think of parcel deliveries, or visitors finding their way. But who numbered the first house, and where, and why? What can addresses tell us about who we are and how we live together?
Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr., how ancient Romans found their way, and why Bobby Sands is memorialised in Tehran. She explores why it matters if, like millions of people today, you don’t have an address.
From cholera epidemics to tax hungry monarchs, Mask discovers the different ways street names are created, celebrated, and in some cases, banned. Full of eye-opening facts, fascinating people and hidden history, this book shows how addresses are about identity, class and race. But most of all they are about power: the power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t, and why.
‘A must read for urbanists and all those interested in cities and modern economic and social life.’ – Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class
Deirdre Mask's book was just up my Strasse, alley, avenue and boulevard. A classic history of nomenclature - loaded, complex and absorbing. -- Simon Garfield, author * Just My Type * Fascinating ... intelligent but thoroughly accessible ... full of surprises * Sunday Times * Mask's fascinating study is filled with insights into how addresses affect ordinary people around the world. * Guardian * I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much. Thought-provoking and entertaining ... The Address Book is a delight from beginning to end. -- Adrian Tinniswood * Literary Review * Illuminating, impressively researched * iPaper * [The Address Book] has pretty much everything: a fascinating topic, excellent breadth and depth of research, logical compilations of the facts into topic and an enthusiastic and chatty narrator. * Scotsman * Deirdre Mask's The Address Book has pretty much everything you want in discursive non-fiction: a fascinating topic, excellent breadth and depth of research across multiple countries and communities, logical compilations of the facts into topic areas and an enthusiastic and chatty narrator. Uncovering what the humble address reveals about us in a multitude of ways - from how we perceive and make sense of our world, through to what constitutes a social legacy, and on to the very timely usefulness of the address in helping us deal with epidemics - Mask has done an excellent job of collating an impressive array of fact, fable and experience. * Irish Examiner * Deirdre Mask reveals how the tales secreted within a street name can be as mesmerizing and mystifying as the city itself-and the people who call that place home. -- Janette Sadik-Khan, former NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner * Bloomberg Associates * A must read for urbanists and all those interested in cities and modern economic and social life. -- Richard Florida, author * The Rise of the Creative Class * Lively and eye-opening ... Deirdre Mask unearths the many layers of meaning hiding just below the surface of the ways we place ourselves and others in our communities. -- Jeff Speck, urban planner and author * Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time * Mask's fluid narration and impressive research uncover the importance of an aspect of daily life that most people take for granted, and she profiles a remarkable array of activists, historians, and artists whose work intersects with the evolution and meaning of street addresses. This evocative history casts its subject in a whole new light. * Publishers Weekly * An impressive examination of the origins of street names around the world ... tied together through Mask's absorbing and thoughtful voice * TIME *
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