The Address Book
A review of

The Address Book

What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power


Names and Numbers

by David Meyer

Deirdre Mask provides an unlikely fascinating history, overview and cultural analysis of street addresses.

If you crave a comprehensive history of postal addresses – don’t laugh, you might – this finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, Goodreads Choice Award, Porchlight Business Book award and one of Time magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2020 should satisfy your deepest desires. Former Harvard Law Review editor Deirdre Mask turns out to be a sparkling, entertaining writer who makes this potentially soporific subject fascinating.

She sketches major historical turning points and unearths quirky trivia while tackling thought-provoking issues – such as how assigning house numbers enhances government’s power, how street names influence property values and how the lack of an address traps millions of people in poverty worldwide.


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