Justin Martin is currently working on To Burn Brightly: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians (forthcoming from Da Capo). This will be the first book ever written about a wild, decadent, and incredibly influential artists’ circle that hung out at Pfaff’s saloon in NYC during the 1850s. Among its members: a young Walt Whitman; Artemus Ward, America’s first standup comic; Edwin Booth, actor and brother of the notorious John Wilkes; and Adah Menken aka “The Naked Lady.”
Justin Martin is the author of three previous books, most recently Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, now available in paperback (Da Capo, 2012). Genius is the amazing story of the pioneering landscape architect of Central Park, who also happened to be a Civil War hero, fervent abolitionist, and crusading journalist. Martin’s previous biographies are Greenspan: The Man Behind Money (Perseus Publishing, 2000) and Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon (Basic, 2002).
All three of Martin’s books have been reviewed widely and well, drawing raves in publications including the Washington Post, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and Vanity Fair. Martin’s bestselling Greenspan bio was chosen as a notable book by the New York Times Book Review.
Martin is frequently called upon to give speeches, especially about Olmsted, a vitally important American historical figure whose influence is still felt across the nation. (Here’s a video of a speech Martin gave at the prestigious National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.)
Martin is a former staff writer at Fortune magazine. His articles have appeared in various magazines such as Newsweek, Money, and Conde Nast Traveler, as well as in newspapers across the country: The New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Lawrence (KS) Journal World.
To discuss his various books and articles, Martin has made a number of national media appearances including NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CBS Sunday Morning, CNBC Power Lunch, and assorted NPR affiliates.
Martin is a 1987 graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas. He lives with his wife and twin sons in Forest Hills Gardens, a landmark NYC neighborhood designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.