Gerald Early is Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also a former commentator for Fresh Air. Early is the editor of the new book, The Sammy Davis Jr. Reader: The Life and Times of the Last Great Hipster (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The book includes writings about him by his friends, as well as profiles, reviews and interviews. Early also edited The Muhammad Ali Reader.