WHERE PEACHTREE MEETS SWEET AUBURN by Gary M. Pomerantz

WHERE PEACHTREE MEETS SWEET AUBURN

The Saga of Two Families and the Making of Atlanta

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Just in time for the summer Olympics--a finely drawn, epic history of Atlanta and of two families, one white, one black, who helped shape its development. Pomerantz, a journalist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has done a remarkable job of recounting both public and private events, lucidly showing how the two connect and diverge across the span of decades. Atlanta's beginnings were humble--a railroad junction with the unpromising name of Terminus--but it quickly grew into the largest city in the South. Even its near complete destruction during the Civil War did little to set it back. Adopting the phoenix as its symbol, the city underwent a phenomenal and frenetic reconstruction as thousands of families migrated from the countryside to the ``Big Hustle.'' Among these rural immigrants were the Dobbs, sharecroppers and former slaves, and the Allens, gentlemen farmers. Members of both families quickly rose to join the elites of their respective communities, and their prestige, power, and wealth increased with each generation. While the book's title refers to two Atlanta streets where wealthy whites and blacks made their respective homes, there were few meaningful intersections of their lives until the 1950s and the beginnings of the civil rights movement. During those turbulent years, as segregation slowly came to an end, both families played key, honorable roles, culminating in the election of Ivan Allen Jr. as mayor, followed a few years later by the election of Maynard Jackson, a descendant of the Dobbs family and Atlanta's first black mayor. Pomerantz has accumulated a formidable amount of research and deploys it expertly, ra rarely losing sight of his characters as they play out their unique destinies against the backdrop of history. An engrossing genealogical window on a remarkable city. (Author tour; national radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-684-80717-3
Page count: 608pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996




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