Cover image for San Francisco : a cultural and literary history


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F869.S35 S56 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Discover the history, literature, music and popular culture of this port city where writers and explorers brought their own visions and touched the subconscious imaginations of Americans and the rest of the world with their novel ideas, liberal politics and eccentricity.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

For readers who are more inclined to visit literary haunts and modern art enclaves than seek out trendy hotels and slick clubs, this latest entry to the Cities of the Imagination series delivers a great read. Sinclair, who has authored numerous California guidebooks, presents an amalgam of history and up-to-the-minute reporting, all concerning San Francisco's literary, popular, social and cultural evolution. The first chapter, on navigating the city, is the most practical, explaining the metropolis's geographical layout. From there, Sinclair goes on to recount the discovery of gold in the state in 1848, which "triggered the biggest population movement the world had ever seen to a place... very few had previously heard of." The book covers much of the city's historical record, as it documents the rise and fall of various San Francisco leaders, architecture styles, political movements and more. Sinclair's volume creates an alluring portrait of a vibrant city, one that is certain to spur curious readers to seek out little-known attractions (such as Japantown) and view well-known ones (such as the Golden Gate Bridge) with a fresh eye. Map, illus. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Sinclair, a travel writer who's written primarily on California, New York City, Florida, and Scandinavia, here offers his sixth title on San Francisco. Unlike the other five, it is less a travel guide and more a historical exploration of the city. The book is divided into six parts: the first two cover the founding and development of San Francisco, the third its culture, the fourth its landmarks, the fifth the ethnic diversity of its neighborhoods, and the last the cultural/political movements that commenced in its environs, such as the beatniks, the Berkeley free speech, and the hippies. Using an informal writing style, the author keeps the reader's interest by connecting the city's past with its current identity. Although the text would have benefited from photographs (instead of illustrations) and more maps, this is an excellent supplement to a basic travel guide and it also stands alone as an informal history of the city. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.-John McCormick, New Hampshire State Lib., Concord (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.