When twenty-five-year-old Bob Dylan wrecked his motorcycle near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was already recognized as a genius, a youth idol with an acid wit and a barbwire throat; and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.

In Positively 4th Street, David Hajdu recounts the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but also his part-time lover Joan Baez — the first voice of the new generation; her sister Mimi — beautiful, haunted, and an artist in her own right; and Mimi's husband, Richard Fariña, a comic novelist (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me) who invented the worldly-wise bohemian persona that Dylan adopted — some say stole — and made his own.

A national bestseller in hardcover, acclaimed as "one of the best books about music in America" (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post), Positively 4th Street is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s — about how the decade and all that it is now associated with were created in a fit of collective inspiration, with an energy and creativity that David Hajdu has captured on the page as if for the first time.