California History:  Resources for Bay Area History Tour

Books [with library call numbers]

AAA Northern California & Nevada TourBook.  2004 ed.  Heathrow, Fla.:  AAA Publishing, 2003.  [917.94 T*]

California Historical Landmarks.  12th ed.  Sacramento, Calif.:  California State Parks/Office of Historic Preservation, 1995. [Sale] [917.9404 C*/979.4 C*] (Also available on-line at

Chase, Marilyn.  The Barbary Plague:  The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco.  New York:  Random House, 2003. [Sale] [362.1969 C*]

Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California.  Sacramento, Calif.:  California Department of Parks and Recreation/Office of Historic Preservation, 1988. [Sale] [305.8009 F*/979.4 F*] (Also available on-line at

Gillenkirk, Jeff, and James Motlow.  Bitter Melon:  Inside America’s Last Rural Chinese Town (originally published as Bitter Melon:  Stories From the Last Rural Chinese Town in America).  3rd ed.  Berkeley, Calif.:  Heyday Books, 1997. [Sale] [979.453 G*]

Heizer, Robert F., and Alan J. Almquist.  The Other Californians:  Prejudice and Discrimination Under Spain, Mexico, and the United States to 1920.  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press, 1971/2000. [Sale] [301.451 H*]

Holliday, J.S.  The World Rushed In:  The California Gold Rush Experience.  Norman, Okla.:  University of Oklahoma Press/Red River Books, 1981/2002. [Sale] [979.404 H*]

Hoover, Mildred Brooke, et al.  Historic Spots in California (revised by Douglas E. Kyle).  5th ed. Stanford, Calif.:  Stanford University Press, 2002. [Sale] [979.4 H*]

Houston, James D.  Californians:  Searching for the Golden State.  Santa Cruz Co., Calif.:  Otter B Books, 1982/1992. [Sale] [917.9404 H*]

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki, and James D. Houston.  Farewell to Manzanar.  New York:  Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group/Bantam Books, 1973. [Sale] [940.5472 H*]

Jones, Ray.  Lighthouses of California and Hawaii:  Eureka to San Diego to Honolulu (Lighthouses Series).  Guilford, Conn.:  The Globe Pequot Press, 2002. [Sale] [387.155 J*]

Kinnaird, Lawrence.  History of Greater San Francisco Bay Region.  3 vols.  New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing, 1966. [Sale] [979.46 K*]

Kurillo, Max, and Erline Tuttle.  California’s El Camino Real and Its Historic Bells (Sunbelt Cultural Heritage Books).  San Diego:  Sunbelt Publications, 2000. [Sale] [979.4 K*]

Lai, Him Mark, Genny Lim, and Judy Yung.  Island:  Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940.  Seattle, Wash.:  University of Washington Press, 1980/1991. [Sale] [895.1151 L*]

Margolin, Malcolm.  The Ohlone Way:  Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area.  Berkeley, Calif.:  Heyday Books, 1978/2003. [Sale] [979.46 M*/970.3 M*/970.494 M*]

Martini, John Arturo.  Fortress Alcatraz:  Guardian of the Golden Gate.  Rev. ed.  Berkeley, Calif.:  Ten Speed Press, 2004. [Sale] [979.461 M*]

McDannold, Thomas A.  California’s Chinese Heritage:  A Legacy of Places.  Stockton, Calif.:  Heritage West Books, 2000. [Sale] [979.4 M*]

McWilliams, Carey.  California:  The Great Exception.  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press, 1949/1998. [Sale] [979.4 M*]

Monaghan, Jay.  Chile, Peru, and the California Gold Rush of 1849.  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press, 1973. [Sale] [979.4 M*/917.9406 M*]

Morris, Susan.  A Traveler’s Guide to Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries of the California Gold Rush.  Berkeley, Calif.:  Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries and Landmarks/The Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1996. [Sale] [929.5 M*]

Nava, Julian, and Bob Barger.  California:  Five Centuries of Cultural Contrasts.  Beverly Hills, Calif.:  Benziger Bruce & Glencoe/Glencoe Press, 1976. [Sale] [979.4 N*]

Pitt, Leonard.  The Decline of the Californios:  A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890.  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press, 1966/1998. [Sale] [301.4516 P*/979.4 P*]

Rawls, James J., and Walton Bean.  California:  An Interpretive History.  8th ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Publishing, 2002. [Sale] [979.4 R*]

Roberts, George, and Jan Roberts.  Discover Historic California:  The Official Travel Guide to State Historic Landmarks and Other Historic Sites (originally titled Discover Historic California:  A Travel Guide to Over 1,800 Places You Can See).  6th ed.  Baldwin Park, Calif.:  Gem Guides Book, 2004. [Sale] [917.9404 R*]

Starr, Kevin.  Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1973/1986. [Sale] [979.404 S*/917.9403 S*]

Starr, Kevin, and Richard J. Orsi, eds.  Rooted in Barbarous Soil:  People, Culture, and Community in Gold Rush California (California History Sesquicentennial Series).  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press/California Historical Society, 2000. [Sale] [979.404 R*]

Street, Richard Steven.  Beasts of the Field:  A Narrative History of California Farmworkers, 1769-1913.  Stanford, Calif.:  Stanford University Press, 2004. [Sale] [331.763 S*]

Takaki, Ronald.  Strangers From a Different Shore:  A History of Asian Americans.  Rev. ed.  Boston:  Little, Brown and Co./Back Bay Books, 1998. [Sale] [973.0495 T*]

The Sunset Editors.  The California Missions:  A Pictorial History.  Menlo Park, Calif.:  Sunset Books, 1979. [Sale] [979.4 S*]

Wells, Mariann Kaye.  Chinese Temples in California.  San Francisco:  R and E Research Associates, 1962/1971. [Sale] [917.94 W*]

Winslow, Ward, ed.  The Making of Silicon Valley:  A One Hundred Year Renaissance.  Palo Alto, Calif.:  Santa Clara Valley Historical Association (now The Institute for the History of Technology), 1995. [Sale] [338.761 M*/979.473 M*]

Wollenberg, Charles.  All Deliberate Speed:  Segregation and Exclusion in California Schools, 1855-1975.  Berkeley, Calif.:  University of California Press, 1976. [Sale] [371.97 W*]

Wyatt, David.  Five Fires:  Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California.  Reading, Mass.:  Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1997. [Sale] [979.4 W*]

Young, Stanley.  The Missions of California.  3rd ed.  San Francisco:  Chronicle Books, 2004. [Sale] [979.4 Y*]


Publisher Web Site
AAA Publishing
Addison-Wesley Publishing
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Chronicle Books
Gem Guides Book
The Globe Pequot Press
Heritage West Books
Heyday Books
The Institute for the History of Technology
The Judah L. Magnes Museum
Little, Brown and Co.
McGraw-Hill Publishing
Otter B Books
Oxford University Press,
Random House
Stanford University Press
Sunbelt Publications
Sunset Books
Ten Speed Press
University of California Press
University of Oklahoma Press
University of Washington Press


(More where that came from:  E-mail us if you’re interested in a longer reading list.)

Videos or TV Reruns

“Alcatraz Is Not an Island.”  Diamond Island Productions/ITVS/KQED/PBS, 2002.  (

“The Fall of the I-Hotel.”  National Asian American Telecommunications Association, 1993.  (

“Legendary Lighthouses.”  WPSX/PBS, 1998.  (

“Lonely Island:  Hidden Alcatraz.”  KQED/PBS, 2002.  (

“Neighborhoods:  San Francisco’s Hidden Cities—The Mission.”  KQED/PBS, 1994.  (

“Neighborhoods:  San Francisco’s Hidden Cities—San Francisco Chinatown.”  KQED/PBS, 1996.  (

“Silicon Valley:  A 100 Year Renaissance.”  Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, 1997.  (


“Bay Area Backroads,” KRON San Francisco (

“California Heartland,” PBS (

“California’s Gold,” PBS (

“California’s Golden Coast,” PBS (

“California’s Golden Parks,” PBS (



Always One in Every Crowd

Nothing is safe from controversy nowadays.  If you’ve ever read those reader comments at, then you know some people seem to have a vendetta against certain history books.  These angry readers may be in the minority, but their complaints are almost identical (maybe they’re written by the same circle of armchair critics).  And their beef is this:  They fault history books that portray all (their interpretation) white Americans/Europeans/peoples in positions of power as evil doers for failing to delve into other groups that might have also taken advantage of the oppressed (including the oppressed themselves).

Before everyone gets all riled up by their comments, we must remember to put history in perspective.  We submit this type of criticism is nitpicking at best and totally unfair in most cases.  General history books on any subject—be it California history, the Civil War, and so on—try to give you the big picture or what constitutes the most historic significance, not every exception to the rule.  There are special-interests books that focus on these exceptions, which are sometimes insignificant or unsubstantiated anecdotes.

Let’s use two popular history subjects as examples.  Were there Nazi collaborators during World War II?  Yes.  Were occupied countries in Europe and “neutral” nations complicit in some ways?  Sure.  These angry readers would probably condemn any Holocaust book that doesn’t address the role of collaborators in details.  Whatever Switzerland might be guilty of pales in comparison to what happened in concentration camps.  These same angry readers would excoriate any U.S. history book for failing to mention the exploitation of African Americans by Northerners and non-white Americans before emancipation.  Fair or not, this line of criticism implies such real or exaggerated exploitation is as unjust as institutionalized slavery.

Of course, some isolated incidents take on a life of their own.  After the televised My Lai trial in 1970, any general account of the Vietnam War that doesn’t mention it should be questioned.  But an omission like this wouldn’t be a fatal flaw—depending on the book’s central theme and overall quality.

To add insult to injury—and it only hurts their own credibility—these angry readers often resort to name-calling:  They accuse writers of following history etiquette or bowing to political pressure (ignoring the fact that some publishers love writers with any kind of attitude; a newspaper columnist didn’t have trouble finding a publisher for her 2004 book defending the decision to intern Americans during World War II).  As we said, this is literary name-calling.

We suspect these readers get anxious when they see the pendulum swing in the opposite direction.  We feel their pain.  In the end, we all want balanced and accurate history books.  We welcome a reality check from opposing sides.  But these readers don’t help their cause by being so shrill in their selective outrage.  And before they judge other people’s motives, they should examine their own.

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