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Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
by Rebecca Solnit
What makes a place? Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit's brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit takes us on a tour that will forever change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically--connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures--butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more.
A Crack in the Edge of the World, America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
by Simon Winchester
Geologist, master storyteller, traveler and journalist, Simon Winchester succeeds again in this fast paced, utterly fascinating account of the great 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco.
Tales of the City
by Armistead Maupin
What began as a newspaper serial then transformed into a classic novel, this is the first of nine novels about the citizens of an apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco.
Fifth Chinese Daughter
by Jade Snow Wong
First published in 1945, Jade Snow Wong's memoir is a simply told, moving story of family life in pre-WWII San Francisco Chinatown.
Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge
by Kevin Starr
Starr covers the history and meaning of this beloved icon and great American feats of engineering in this slim portrait.
Streetwise San Francisco Map
A laminated, folded map of the city center of San Francisco at a scale of 1:30,000.
Travelers' Tales San Francisco
by James O'Reilly (Editor), Larry Habegger (Editor), Sean O'Reilly (Editor)
Experience San Francisco from the inside out with this engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports -- a terrific literary profile of a dynamic city.
Cool Gray City of Love, 49 Views of San Francisco
by Gary Kamiya
A kaleidoscopic love letter to one of the world's great cities, San Francisco, by a lifelong Bay Area resident and co-founder of Salon.
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love
by David Talbot
A cultural history of San Francisco that covers the years from 1967 to 1982 and tells the gripping story of how the city by the bay overcame tragedy and strife to become the beloved city it is today. Starring a cast of notable figures, including Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin and Jim Jones.
Bret Harte's Gold Rush, Outcasts of Poker Flat, The Luck of Roaring Camp, Tennessee's Partner and Other Favorites
by Bret Harte, Reuben H. Margolin (Editor)
In the 1860s and 70s, a former stagecoach messenger named Bret Harte dazzled the literary world with his tales of Gold Rush-era California. These 15 rough-and-tumble stories include some of the best he ever wrote.
San Francisco, A Cultural History
by Mick Sinclair
Organized more thematically than chronologically, this easy-to-read introduction to the city and its neighborhoods will appeal both to first time visitors and those who know and love the city.
Gold Fever, One Man's Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush
by Steve Boggan
Rich in history and economics, Boggan's travelogue follows the trails of the original 49ers -- to San Francisco and beyond -- where Americans still risk life and limb for lucrative gold strikes.
The Lucky Ones, One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America
by Mae Ngai
Ngai, a professor of history at Columbia University, uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-Gold Rush, racially explosive San Francisco.
California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Kevin Starr
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.
Escape from Alcatraz
by J. Campbell Bruce
First published in 1963, this true crime classic is now out in a special edition. Bruce recounts the Rock’s transition from a Spanish fort to the infamous penitentiary, temporary home of legendary criminals like Al Capone and the Birdman of Alcatraz (Robert Stroud). He also includes descriptions of Frank Morris’ escape attempt alongside archival photos.
You Can't Win
by Jack Black
A true classic, this fascinating memoir -- first published in 1926 -- lifts the lid on Black’s life as a safecracker, thief, gambler, opium addict and hobo riding the rails of the American West. With an introduction by William Burroughs.
111 Places in San Francisco That You Must Not Miss
by Floriana Peterson
This "111 Places" guide to San Francisco profiles so many strange and original places that it will surprise even loyal residents. Each hidden gem reveals the history and unique flavor of the Californian city.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
by Joan Didion
A classic collection of essays on the1960s cultural climate, first published in 1968. In the acclaimed title essay, Didion vividly describes the landscape, mood and culture of '60s San Francisco.