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California Studies in Critical Human Geography #03: Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin

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California Studies in Critical Human Geography #03: Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin Cover

ISBN13: 9780520250086
ISBN10: 0520250087
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

San Francisco is a city clouded in myth. This urban biography provides an entirely new vision of the city's history, laying bare the inner dynamics of the regional civilization centered in San Francisco. Imperial San Francisco examines the far-reaching environmental impact that one city and the elite families that hold power in it have had on the Pacific Basin for over a century and a half. The book provides a literate, myth-shattering interpretation of the hidden costs that the growth of San Francisco has exacted on its surrounding regions, presenting along the way a revolutionary new theory of urban development. Written in a lively, accessible style, the narrative is filled with vivid characters, engrossing stories, and a rich variety of illustrations.

As he uncovers the true costs of building an imperial city, Gray Brechin addresses the dynastic ambitions of frontier oligarchies, the environmental and social effects of the mining industry, the creation of two universities, the choice of imperial architecture to symbolize the aspirations of San Franciscans in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, manipulation of public thought by the city's media, and more. He traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families--the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckelses, and others--who gained wealth and power through mining, control of ranching, water and energy, transportation, real estate, and weapons.

This broad history of San Francisco is a story of greed and ambition on an epic scale. Imperial San Francisco incorporates rare period illustrations, personal correspondence, and public statements to show how a little-known power elite has used the city as a toolto increase its own wealth and power. Brechin's story advances a new way of understanding urban history as he traces the links among environment, economy, and technology that led, ultimately, to the creation of the atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race.

Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction Book of 2000

Synopsis:

"A classic of urban history, environmental history, California history, and socially oriented architectural criticism, this work contains scholarship that is thrilling in its comprehensiveness. Never before have the inner dynamics of the regional civilization centered in San Francisco been so comprehensively integrated."—Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California, author of Americans and the California Dream

"Imperial San Francisco is a great gift of a book, the product of extraordinary research, insight, and hard work that connects a lot of dots and gives me a reinvigorated focus and curiosity [about] what California culture was and what might become of it all."—Gary Snyder

Synopsis:

First published in 1999, this celebrated history of San Francisco traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families—the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckelses, and others—who gained power through mining, ranching, water and energy, transportation, real estate, weapons, and the mass media. The story uncovered by Gray Brechin is one of greed and ambition on an epic scale. Brechin arrives at a new way of understanding urban history as he traces the connections between environment, economy, and technology and discovers links that led, ultimately, to the creation of the atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race. In a new preface, Brechin considers the vulnerability of cities in the post-9/11 twenty-first century.

About the Author

Gray Brechin has worked as a journalist and television producer and is coauthor of Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream (UC Press). He received his Ph.D. from the U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography in 1998

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Preface to the 2006 Edition

Preface to the First Edition: The Urban Maelstrom

Introduction: New Romes for a New World

Part I: Foundations of Dominion

1. The Pyramid of Mining

2. Water Mains and Bloodlines

Part II: The Thought Shapers

3. The Scott Brothers: Arms and the Overland Mutiny

4. The De Youngs: Society Invents Itself

5. The Hearsts: Racial Supremacy and the Digestion of "All Mexico"

Part III: Remote Control

6. Toward Limitless Energy

7. The University, the Gate, and "the Gadget"

Notes

A Note on Sources

Select Bibliography

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

dianelivia, April 10, 2008 (view all comments by dianelivia)
A unique perspective on the development of a city. Brechin makes the usually invisible, but essential, connection between money and development. He never uses a passive verb; rather, he makes clear the forces of money, political power and oligarchy behind the decisions that shaped the world we live in. Good reading.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780520250086
Subtitle:
Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
Author:
Brechin, Gray
Author:
Brechin, Gray A.
Author:
Brechin, Gray
Author:
Gray Brec
Author:
hin
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Nature
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - State & Local - West
Subject:
San Francisco (Calif.)
Subject:
San francisco bay area (calif.)
Subject:
Sociology - Urban
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2
Edition Description:
With a New Preface
Series:
California Studies in Critical Human Geography
Series Volume:
03
Publication Date:
20061003
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
85 b/w photographs, 7 maps, 1 graph
Pages:
437
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.13 in 25 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » Urban Planning
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Painting » General
History and Social Science » Americana » San Francisco
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

California Studies in Critical Human Geography #03: Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$30.95 In Stock
Product details 437 pages University of California Press - English 9780520250086 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"A classic of urban history, environmental history, California history, and socially oriented architectural criticism, this work contains scholarship that is thrilling in its comprehensiveness. Never before have the inner dynamics of the regional civilization centered in San Francisco been so comprehensively integrated."—Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California, author of Americans and the California Dream

"Imperial San Francisco is a great gift of a book, the product of extraordinary research, insight, and hard work that connects a lot of dots and gives me a reinvigorated focus and curiosity [about] what California culture was and what might become of it all."—Gary Snyder

"Synopsis" by ,
First published in 1999, this celebrated history of San Francisco traces the exploitation of both local and distant regions by prominent families—the Hearsts, de Youngs, Spreckelses, and others—who gained power through mining, ranching, water and energy, transportation, real estate, weapons, and the mass media. The story uncovered by Gray Brechin is one of greed and ambition on an epic scale. Brechin arrives at a new way of understanding urban history as he traces the connections between environment, economy, and technology and discovers links that led, ultimately, to the creation of the atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race. In a new preface, Brechin considers the vulnerability of cities in the post-9/11 twenty-first century.
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