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Recycled Photo Essays From S.F. Chronicle
on April 28, 2011
John King is the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE's architecture critic, and I'm a regular reader of his intelligent, insightful columns about The City's successful and not-so-successful buildings. However, this book was a great disappointment to me.
1. It's small: just a little 5" x 7" handbook that can be tucked into a purse, a pocket, a Christmas stocking, or a tourist's bag.
2. It's a spotty collection of mini-photo-essays of only 50 notable San Francisco structures--some obscure, some very famous. There are two pages (two photos and one text paragraph) devoted to each structure.
3. The book fails as a tourist's guide. Although street addresses are given for each structure, there are no maps to show where the buildings are located within The City or relative to each other.
4. The handbook-size format means that the photos are too small to be enjoyed as portraits of beautiful or intriguing buildings.
In sum, this is nothing more than a by-producted collection of King's previously published newspaper feature columns, with full-color rather than black-and-white photos. In my opinion, it is a "non-book", and valuable primarily as a travel souvenir.
I would not have purchased this book, if I'd had a chance to see it first.