Edward McPherson

‘A city of gates that do not normally swing wide:’ Essayist Edward McPherson reflects on St. Louis

Essayist Edward McPherson talks to St. Louis on the Air about his new book. 

"'St. Louis is a city of gates that do not normally swing wide,' writes author and Washington University English professor Edward McPherson in “The History of the Future,” a book of essays reflecting on American places which was released earlier this spring.

In the book, McPherson reexamines American history and identity through a series of essays, including one about St. Louis. That essay intertwines musings on the World’s Fair, gated communities and the Gateway Arch with reflections on segregation and even “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

It is not the most flattering depiction of St. Louis, but it does ring true.

“The essay started when my wife and I were moving to town and we were doing something as simple as trying to find an apartment,” McPherson told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “Just driving through the city, Google Maps would get it wrong because it would lead us to gated neighborhoods and these private streets. I thought ‘this is interesting,’ why can’t I move through this city as effortlessly as the maps made it seem. That led to bigger questions about who lives where, in what neighborhoods.”

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, McPherson joined host Don Marsh to discuss his book and how he views St. Louis today. "

Read more or listen to the interview on St. Louis Public Radio's website.