Justin Martin’s latest is Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians (Da Capo Press, 2014). This is the first book ever written about a colorful, decadent, and immensely influential artists’ circle that hung out at Pfaff’s saloon in NYC during the 1850s. Among its members: a young Walt Whitman; trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward, psychedelic drug explorer Fitz Hugh Ludlow, and the brilliant brazen Adah Menken, who achieved worldwide fame for her “Naked Lady” routine.
Martin is the author of three previous books, including Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (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 other books are Greenspan: The Man Behind Money (Perseus Publishing, 2000) and Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon (Basic, 2002).
All 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. Rebel Souls was picked as one of the best books of 2014 by the Kansas City Star.
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. 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.
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.