The Book

In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we also see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata and on the streets of London. Filled with fascinating people and histories,The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t—and why.

“An impressive examination of the origins of street names around the world….It’s a damning look at the intersection of place, power and identity, tied together through Mask’s absorbing and thoughtful voice.”

Time, “100 Must-Read Books of 2020”


The Author

Deirdre Mask graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude, and attended University of Oxford before returning to Harvard for law school, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She completed a master’s in writing at the National University of Ireland.

The author ofThe Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power, Deirdre's writing has appeared inThe New York Times, The Atlantic,andThe Guardian. Originally from North Carolina, she has taught at Harvard and the London School of Economics. She lives with her husband and daughters in London.

"An entertaining quest to trace the origins and implications of the names of the roads on which we reside."

—Sarah Vowell,The New York Times Book Review