About This Site


City on the Verge, by Atlanta native Mark Pendergrast, will be published in hardback by Basic Books officially on May 16, 2017, although copies may be available several weeks before that date.

Pendergrast, who lives in Vermont now, will be in Atlanta the following week to host several events, including a speech at the Carter Center on May 23. See all upcoming events

Mark would be glad to hear from readers and hopes that this website will provide a forum for discussing the city’s future and issues it faces, as well as providing excerpts from the book. He will be soliciting guest blog posts to promote thoughtful discussions.

About the Book

Atlanta is on the verge of tremendous rebirth-or inexorable decline. A kind of Petri dish for cities struggling to reinvent themselves, Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the country, gridlocked highways, suburban sprawl, and a history of racial injustice. Yet it is also an energetic, brash young city that prides itself on pragmatic solutions.

Today, the most promising catalyst for the city’s rebirth is the BeltLine, which the New York Times described as “a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization.” A long-term project that is cutting through forty-five neighborhoods ranging from affluent to impoverished, the BeltLine will complete a twenty-two-mile loop encircling downtown, transforming a massive ring of mostly defunct railways into a series of stunning parks connected by trails and streetcars.

Acclaimed author Mark Pendergrast presents a deeply researched, multi-faceted, up-to-the-minute history of the biggest city in America’s Southeast, using the BeltLine saga to explore issues of race, education, public health, transportation, business, philanthropy, urban planning, religion, politics, and community.

An inspiring narrative of ordinary Americans taking charge of their local communities, City on the Verge provides a model for how cities across the country can reinvent themselves.

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About the Author

Mark PendergrastMark Pendergrast was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the fourth of seven children in a family that valued civil rights, the environment, sailing, reading, and games of chase and charades. He earned a B.A. in English literature from Harvard, taught high school and elementary school, then went back to Simmons College for a masters in library science and worked as an academic librarian—all the while writing freelance articles for newspapers and magazines. In 1991, he began writing books full time, which allows him to follow his rather eclectic interests.

Pendergrast’s books have been published in 15 languages. For God, Country & Coca-Cola was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times, and Discover Magazine chose Mirror Mirror as one of the top science books of the year. Pendergrast has given speeches to professional groups, business associations, and college audiences in the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Germany. He has appeared on dozens of television shows, including the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and CNN, and has been interviewed on over 100 radio programs, including All Things Considered, Marketplace, and many other public radio shows. He lives in Colchester, Vermont.

City on the Verge is Pendergrast’s third book related to the city of Atlanta, following For God, Country and Coca-Cola, a history of the soft drink, and Inside the Outbreaks, a history of the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC.

LEARN MORE: markpendergrast.com