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You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
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San Diego Legends: Events, People and Places that Made History
As the title suggests, this is a compendium of the history makers of San Diego and the places and events that have contributed greatly to making San Diego what it is today. This book gives a nice nice background of the city for curious visitors.
Moon San Diego
A practical guide in the Moon series, packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history and destinations throughout San Diego.
San Diego Then and Now
Charting San Diego’s growth from a small village to a gorgeous beach city, this heavily illustrated regional portrait pairs 100 archival photographs with full-color shots of the same scene today.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
A compact, easy-to-use guide to 1,000 California trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds and other flora and fauna.
I Cover the Waterfront: Stories from the San Diego Shore
Special reporter for the San Diego Sun Max Miller set down his impressions of the San Diego waterfront -- from the departure of the Sardine Fleet to the hunt for elephant seals for the zoo to the sailing of the California fruit liners -- capturing the romantic spirit of the harbor and deep-sea life.
San Diego's Navy: An Illustrated History
The generously illustrated book tells the intriguing story of how a reluctant Navy department slowly realized San Diego's attributes and then took bold action to consolidate its position. This discerning history provides a sweeping and long overdue view of the city and base that has influenced the lives of countless thousands of American Navy men and women and their families.
A Natural History of California
Abundantly illustrated, this natural history takes California apart, region by region, telling about its variety of landforms, habitats and wildlife. This updated second edition features new species, park details, information on the impacts of a changing climate on the state and new stories about people's interactions with the wild.
San Diego: An Introduction to the Region
This accessible, comprehensive history covers the geology, agriculture and natural features as well as the social and urban development of San Diego and surrounding areas. Includes maps and illustrations.
Empire Builder: John D. Spreckels and the Making of San Diego
John D. Spreckels transformed San Diego from a bankrupt village to a flourishing city. He built empires in sugar, shipping, transportation, gas and electricity, real estate, newspapers, banks, breweries, and building development up and down the coast of California and across the Pacific. He acquired control of Coronado Beach Company, the Hotel Del Coronado and Coronado Tent City. He purchased the San Diego street railway system converting it from horse power to electricity, the newspapers: San Francisco Call, San Diego Union and the Tribune. He owned all of North Island, the San Diego-Coronado Ferry System, Union-Tribune Publishing Co., San Diego Electric Railway, San Diego & Arizona Railway, and Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Deep dive into the history and impact that John D. Spreckles had on creating the thriving city of San Diego.
California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
Arguing that America’s most populous state has always been blessed with both spectacular natural beauty and astonishing human diversity, Starr unfolds a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph.
For generations, California’s native peoples basked in the abundance of a climate and topography eminently suited to human habitation. By the time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, there were scores of autonomous tribes were thriving in the region. Though conquest was rapid, nearly two centuries passed before Spain exerted control over upper California through the chain of missions that stand to this day.
The discovery of gold in January 1848 changed everything. With population increasing exponentially as get-rich-quick dreamers converged from all over the world, California reinvented itself overnight. Starr deftly traces the successive waves of innovation and calamity that have broken over the state since then–the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons and the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the heroic irrigation and transportation projects that have altered the face of the region; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace.