San Francisco

A Cultural and Literary History


Mick Sinclair

ISBN : 978-190-2669-65-6

History Cities of the Imagination Other Distributed Titles

February 2004

266 pages, 5.25″ x 8″

For sale in Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR only

  • HK$175.00

Within a generation San Francisco grew from an isolated Mexican trading post with more hills than people into America’s major Pacific Coast city. Shaped by entrepreneurs, eccentrics, and visionaries, it became renowned for accommodating those who dared to be different. People as diverse as William Randolph Hearst, Lillie Coit, Carol Doda, Jerry Garcia, and Harvey Milk have thrived in San Francisco’s permissive environment as it evolved into one of the world’s most welcoming and visually stunning cities.

Mick Sinclair explores gold-rush San Francisco and the early free-for-all that led to corruption, vigilantism and public hangings. Looking at the mansions of Nob Hill and the notorious Barbary Coast with its spiked drinks and opium-laced cigars, he reveals a city of pleasure and promiscuity. Through literature, music and popular culture, he considers the rise of Berkeley’s student activism, the genesis of hippie culture and Haight-Ashbury’s famous Summer of Love. Explaining how the Castro became the world’s most famous gay neighborhood, he reveals how a booming internet economy transformed and then threatened to destroy the city.

THE CITY OF LANDMARKS: the Golden Gate Bridge; the Transamerica Pyramid; the Ferry Building; Mission Dolores; Coit Tower; Alcatraz Island; Yerba Buena Gardens.

THE CITY OF PSYCHEDELIA: Ken Kesey and the Acid Tests; the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane; the Trips Festival and the Human Be-In; underground culture and festivals.

THE CITY OF WRITERS: Ina Donna Coolbrith, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, George Sterling; Dashiel Hammett; Kenneth Rexroth; Allen Ginsberg; Herb Caen; Armistead Maupin.

MICK SINCLAIR is the author of sixteen books and has written widely on many diverse aspects of California history and culture.