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Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas Paperback – November 29, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520262506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520262508
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A joyous book.”
(San Francisco Chronicle 2010-11-03)

“Inventive and affectionate.”
(Lise Funderburg New York Times Book Review 2010-12-05)

“This nicely designed book offers a collection of essays and subject specific maps anyone who loves San Francisco will enjoy poring over.”
(Bob Walch Bookloons.com 2011-10-18)

“Brilliantly disorients our native sense of place.”
(Jonathon Keats San Francisco Magazine 2010-12-01)

“This is an amazing and thought-provoking book.”
(Geist 2012-11-05)

“A richly textured graphic book that no electronic format can master yet, Infinite City features Rebecca Solnit as cultural and historical tour guide through the city she calls home.”
(Bridget Kinsella Shelf Awareness 2010-10-18)

“A fresh and intriguing spin on mapmaking.”
(Elizabeth Ryan Utne 2010-11-01)

“A thrilling new book.”
(Nicole Gluckstern San Francisco Bay Guardian 2010-12-01)

“A gorgeously produced collection of maps and essays.”
(Nikil Saval Los Angeles Review Of Books 2011-07-28)

“Breathtakingly original.”
(San Francisco Bay Guardian 2010-11-23)

“A treasure of intricate, intimate maps.”
(Adam Hartzell SF360 2010-12-20)

From the Inside Flap

"At last a field book with the sense of San Francisco—the non sense, the real sense, the mysteries of the microclimates, gays and butterflies, gangs, boulevards and mysterious alleys. All here!"—Michael McClure

"Downright near infinite, at any rate, the good fortune of a city blessed with such antic chroniclers as Rebecca Solnit, First Citizen of the Imagination, and her entire splendid crew. There's one map missing, though, from this marvelous little volume: the MRI of any reader lucky enough to wander into its myriad graven precincts—synapses firing, dendrites scintillating away, a whole mad happy carnival of fresh neuronal associations."—Lawrence Weschler, author of Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences

"Solnit's writing is born of intense reverie and deep reading, passionate inquiry and political defiance; she is a lyric questor for the texture of everyday life, and she attends to places and to their variety and particularity with an exhilarating form of attention that illuminates and transforms her subjects. Infinite City is a marvellous atlas, a new approach to history-making and storytelling; it's also a highly original praise song to many San Franciscos, a multi-layered and polyphonic testament, alert to the play of detail and to the grand design, to the shadows of memory that fall, the restless shifts in the urban scene and the vital energy of overlooked subjectivities."—Marina Warner

More About the Author

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory, including two atlases, of San Francisco in 2010 and New Orleans in 2013; this year's Men Explain Things to Me; last year's The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper's and frequent contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com.

She encourages you to shop at Indiebound, your local independent bookstore, Powells.com, Barnes & Noble online and kind of has some large problems with how Amazon operates these days. Though she's glad if you're buying her books however.....

Customer Reviews

The illustrations are very nice.
Sarah S
The book is a wonderful joy to read, browse, and learn about San Francisco (as well as an excellent example of great book design).
vanderwal
Highly recommend as an insightful and creative guide to this fascinating city.
Hallie Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Moore on November 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beautiful "Infinite City" belongs on any list of essential San Francisco books. Rebecca Solnit and her collaborators have taken a core sample of the endless layers of San Francisco history and laid it out in twenty-two brilliantly imagined maps and eighteen essays exploring the city's history, geography, demography, biology, and myth. "Infinite City" is vast enough to encompass the Coliseum, Coronet and Alexandria theaters; the Pipevine swallowtail, Satyr anglewing, and Orange sulfur butterflies; the Yelamu, Aramai, and Urebure peoples; the "McKittrick Hotel", "Argosy Book Shop", and Ernie's; Josephine McCrackin, Carrie Stevens Walter, and Barbara Eastman; Bechtel, RoboteX, and Jeppesen; Jimbo's Bop City, Ann's 440, and the Six Gallery; Acme Export Packing, the Pacific Far East Line, and Triple A Machine Shop; and the Richmond Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. The book itself is as lovingly designed as anything McSweeney's has published, proof that until we stop needing tactile pleasures, the screen will never replace the page.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Josh on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Incredible book, an interesting view of San Francisco from a historical and sociological perspective. Please note though that this book is currently being offered by a seller for over $198. This book is being sold at the SFMOMA for $24.95. The seller's mark up is dishonest and offensive.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By m on March 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's like reader-Mapquesting your way through San Francisco while leafing through the pages of "Infinite City." Rebecca Solnit has cleverly divided The City into wonderful stories based on people, events and history which happened in each of the many and varied districts. Whether you're an armchair traveler or lucky enough to actually be in San Francisco traipsing about you will thoroughly enjoy all the wonderfully detailed maps as well as eloquently written words which entice the reader to keep moving on to the next page and district. Hard to believe it's possible because San Francisco is so well documented but this book adds many new facts and bits of
interest guaranteed to hold your attention. It's an entertaining, delightful and informative read as well as terrific reference. "Infinite City" is a new gem on my bookshelf which is located 750 miles from San Francisco. Despite the distance, as Solnit wrote, "More than anything, this is a map home."
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Lewis on July 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This atlas by Rebecca Solnit is an interesting attempt to describe some of the diversity and contrasts in the San Francisco Bay Area. However it is seriously flawed in its execution. There are several double page maps, but they go right into the binding so the center of the map can not be seen! This is exacerbated by the the shape of tall and narrow so that the binding is extra long. There are many double pages of text in small type referring to the the maps on other pages. It would have been much better if the maps and corresponding text were integrated on the same or opposite page so they could be viewed together. So, while the book is interesting, its usefulness is limited and difficult to use as a guide.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Perlmutter on August 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Infinite City is the only book I've ever read that truly achieves what a map should as an art form. As a student of geography and GIS, I wish I had been more educated on some of her methods and encouraged to try more or Solnit's wildly imaginative interpretations. Few things are as hard to map as history and culture, for these are nonlinear and fluid concepts. As the author states, any interpretation of our sense of place is situated by our individual experience; there are therefore an "infinite" number of maps that each of us could make of the city, and each would be artistically relevant. Infinite City does a great job of highlighting both the more popular stories/folklore of San Francisco through her maps, as well as those most of us are not brilliant enough to imagine. Solnit has a keen sense of duality and contradiction, which shows in her cartography. "Poison and palate", the interplay between toxic waste generators and gourmet food destinations and how the two are not at all unrelated. "Phrenology" of the city was another of my favorites. As I finished Infinite City, I was left scratching my head wondering 1) why geography students aren't educated to value maps in the artistic sense; and 2) why aren't there more books like Infinite City for the other great cities of the world! A fantastic read, highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. tang on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a unique book on what do to in San Francisco or some of the odd history, this book is great. I have not read through it entirely yet, but the 1st half is great and the illustrations are amazing. Very happy with this purchase. Cool design, too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 6, 2011
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It has been awhile since a book captivated me to the point that I felt compelled to read it in one sitting. With beautifully executed maps and insightful essays, Rebecca Solnit and her collaborators have created a thought provoking study of the Bay Area in general and San Francisco in particular.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Clark on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a native of San Francisco (NOT "Frisco" or "San Fran"...it's San Francisco OR "the city"!) this book is a revelation. I have trouble putting it down. SO many details about what happened where and when, so much richness of information and cultural background. Not just a who did what and when, but whys and cultural insight. GREAT BOOK for anyone who loves "the city"!
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