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“Overton Park: A People’s History is an engaging and sobering story of what it takes to make and keep a great urban park. … As Brooks Lamb shows, it has taken constant vigilance, citizen leadership, and occasional protest to preserve this nationally significant and locally priceless park. Lamb’s Overton Park biography brings park goers into the history as vitally important actors, explaining how the park captured the hearts of generations of Memphians who grew up with this place and in turn became its defenders. His is a history rich in experience, memories, and emotions. Overton Park is a worthy and timely biography of this wondrous legacy that should forever serve to conserve, refresh, invigorate, and inspire.”
– Dr. Cary Fowler, former executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, author of the award-winning ‘Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault’ (Prospecta Press, 2016), and recipient of the 2018 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Citizen Leadership
“Overton Park: A People’s History adds immeasurably to our understanding of the history of public recreation and entertainment in 20th century Memphis. As Brooks Lamb brings out the stories and people behind this treasured urban park, his insights into the interplay between race and class help to explain why every public space in Jim Crow Memphis was a contested space and how Overton Park did not become fully the people’s park until recent decades. Overton Park has been the setting for spectacles both large and small, and few are forgotten in this valuable narrative as the author explains how citizens protected the park from interstate highways and residents today have led the park’s rebirth as one of the city’s most vital institutions.”
– Dr. Carroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian and Director of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation
“If you were born in Memphis, have lived in the city for any length of time, or if you don’t live there but possess an interest in a compelling piece of history, this book by Brooks Lamb is a must read. The anecdotes from a variety of mostly Memphis natives … bring the history of Overton Park to life. Lamb offers a concise and relevant narrative about arguably the most important public space in Memphis.”
– Otis Sanford, author, news analyst, and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis
Through the lens of this book, Memphians will see their city anew. Beating at its center is “the Heart of Memphis,” Overton Park. … What a book this is, bringing the park to life in all its facets through all its centenarial history—and resurrecting fond memories in older Memphians like me. Extensive interviews with the heroes (such as attorney Charlie Newman) and heroines (such as civil-rights leader Johnnie Turner) who shepherded the park through its many trials and tribulations make this book truly a people’s history of a truly hallowed place. Read this book!
– Dr. J. Baird Callicott, author of ‘Thinking Like a Planet’ (Oxford UP, 2013) and internationally-renowned environmental philosopher of the land ethic
“Like Overton Park itself, this book is a jewel.”
– Bill Haltom, author of ‘Full Court Press: How Pat Summitt, A High School Basketball Player, and A Legal Team Saved the Game’ (Univ. of Tenn. Press, 2018)
“Overall, this is an excellent book… The combination of history and oral interviews is well done and makes the book a pleasure to read.”
– Wayne Dowdy, author of multiple Memphis-focused books, including ‘Crusades for Freedom: Memphis and the Political Transformation of the American South’ (Univ. Press of Miss., 2010)