LOOKING FOR a unique gift? How about a recently published books by or about Baltimoreans and Marylanders? Here's a sampling for 1997:
History: Daniel Carroll Toomey and Scott Sheads have published Baltimore During the Civil War, a thorough historic account. Find it at the Baltimore Civil War Museum (601 President Street, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. except Mondays), among other local venues.
Sherry H. Olson's classic Baltimore: The Building of an American City (Hopkins Press, 516-6930 for this and other Press books mentioned here) has been reissued with revisions for this bicentennial year.
Feminist Fiction: Lynn Buck, of Cockeysville, published Eccentric Circles: An Uncommon Tale of Five Women (Dorrance Publishing: Pittsburgh 1997, $19 hardcover, 800-788-7654). The book, a fictional, and feminist,account of how four older women rescue a fifth from a nursing home, deals with major life and death themes.
Social History: Hopkins Press has re-issued Letitia Stockett's blithe Baltimore: A Not Too Serious History ($15.95 in paperback), originally published in 1928. With a foreword by former Sun editor Harold A. Williams that forewarns of some archaic (some might say racist) terminology in the text, the book is a lighthearted social romp through the B-More of 70 years ago, reflecting the mores of its times. There's lots of info here: did you know , for example, that Patterson Park was the gift to this city of William Patterson, father of Betsy Patterson Bonaparte?
A Year In The Life...: Baltimorean David Simon, author of Homicide, the basis of the Baltimore-based TV series, has written The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (Broadway Books; hardcover, $27.50). The book chronicles what it's like to be a drug dealer or user in a down-and-out neighborhood in West Baltimore, focusing on the real action that took place at the corner of West Fayette and Monroe Streets during 1993. The corner was chosen at random from among over 100 open-air drug dealing sites in Baltimore alone. Simon, then a Sun reporter, worked with former city homicide detective Edward Burns now a 7th grade social studies teacher at Hamilton Middle School) to gain the trust of the people who frequented the area, and he and Simon gathered information to tell these true-life street stories.
Sports: Local sportswriting legend John F. Steadman's From Colts to Ravens: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Baltimore Professional Football (Tidewater Publishers, $24.95, 1-800-638-7641) gives a 50-year overview of football in this city, laced with opinions and anecdotes.
Literature: Hopkins Press has reissued Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebook, and Mencken's Treatise on the Gods. The press has also issued a new edition of Bolton Hill author Frank R. Shivers' Maryland Wits and Baltimore Bards: Literary Figures Past and Present.
Reminisences: Hopkins Press has published William H. Turner's Chesapeake Boyhood.
Game: "Baltimore Talk," a game involving over 200 magnets bearing words related to the city, has been created for Hometown Girl, Inc. ($12.95), and is available at NightGoods, Celebrate Baltimore, both in Harborplace, and Hometown Girl, Roland Avenue at West 36th St. in Hampden.