The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins: The Life and Legacy That Shaped an American City


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.2 X 1.3 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Antero Pietila's thirty-five years with the Baltimore Sun included coverage of the city's neighborhoods, politics and government but also seven years of reporting as a correspondent in South Africa and the Soviet Union. A native of Finland, where he graduated from Tampere's School of Social Sciences, Pietila became a student of urban racial rotations during his first visit to the United States in 1964. He later obtained a Master of Arts degree at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He is the author of Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City (2010). He is a contributor to The Life of Kings: The Baltimore Sun and the Golden Age of the American Newspaper, as well as an ebook, Race Goes To War: Ollie Stewart and the Reporting of Black Correspondents in World War II. He resides in Baltimore, MD.


"In The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins, veteran Baltimore Sun journalist Antero Pietila has not merely chronicled the history and reach of one of the world's greatest medical institutions and its enigmatic founder. He has done something more insightful. This is a careful, textbook study of how power and money are routed through American cities-- or not. Pietila knows the origins and outcomes in Baltimore as few ever will, but more than that, he understands our permanent national pathologies of race, class and greed."
"Antero Pietila has insightfully and carefully woven a story of wealth, pain, prejudice and the unrealized potential of an American city, through the dimly lit lens of one of its most famous and enigmatic benefactors. The story within the story chronicles and explains the less than accidental idiosyncrasies and complexities of influence and pretense, on over a century of urban development.

Less than a stone's throw from Washington, DC, and long after Hopkins' death, Pietila accurately details the Baltimore epitaph; a coexistence of excellence and mediocrity forged on an anvil of premeditated policy and racial practice. It is a welcome treatise on a not so incidental slice of American history."

"Antero Pietila has woven a rich tapestry of Baltimore history that vividly interweaves the legacy of the elusive Johns Hopkins with the warp and woof of twentieth century politics, the torturous aftereffects of slavery, and gritty personal reporting that never shies away from the disturbing questions posed by long-ingrained racism and poverty."

"Hard-hitting and occasionally outrageous, this book gives us Baltimore by way of its most influential citizen and the institutions he created. Pietila also offers up plenty of digressions-- from guano to grave robbers, mobsters to medical experiments--that are as revealing as his central subject. Picking up where his groundbreaking Not in My Neighborhood left off, he again powerfully demonstrates how racism has shaped Baltimore, even down to the legacy of the abolitionist Hopkins. Once again Pietila has written a book that should stimulate much discussion among those who care about Baltimore and its history."

"Post-industrial Baltimore is fertile ground for coming to terms with the nation's history of innovation and invention but also of forced labor, segregation, lynchings, eugenics and 'socioeconomic rotation'.

In his latest book Pietila uses Johns Hopkins as the lens to focus on the high and mighty who pulled the strings and shaped Baltimore. He weaves the dealings of luminaries, power brokers, hustlers, police, and even Russian hackers, into a captivating story about his adopted hometown. Covering 200 years, the book ranges wide and far until a comprehensive picture emerges in which heroes and villains are thoroughly intertwined. Many strands lead to Johns Hopkins, the person, the university and the hospital bearing his name, adding up to what is today a 'global premium brand.'"

No citizen left a more profound impact on Baltimore than entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins, who, after his death, endowed to the city the great university and hospital system that bears his name. At the same time, because he thoroughly destroyed his private papers, no comprehensive biography exists of Hopkins--but this is a good place to start. Pietila, a Baltimore Sun reporter for 35 years, delves into not just Hopkins' formative years but the formative years of the city itself . . . If readers want to learn more about Baltimore's history, particularly that of the east side, they won't be disappointed.