- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (August 6, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1608199606
- ISBN-13: 978-1608199600
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 167 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco Hardcover – August 6, 2013
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About the Author
Gary Kamiya was born in Oakland in 1953 and grew up in Berkeley. After dropping out of Yale, he earned his BA and MA in English lit from UC Berkeley, where he won the Mark Schorer Citation. He drove a taxi in San Francisco for 7 years while completing college and working as a freelance writer. After co-founding a short-lived city magazine called Frisko, he got his first real job at the age of 37 as an editor of the San Francisco Examiner's Sunday magazine, Image. After five years at the Examiner, where he was a culture critic and book editor, he left to co-found the groundbreaking Web site Salon.com, where he was executive editor for 12 years. He is currently a columnist for Salon. His first book, Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler, was a critically-acclaimed history. He is married to the novelist Kate Moses. They have two children.
Top customer reviews
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Gary Kamiya's new book is, without a doubt, the best writing about San Francisco I've read since the passing of Herb Caen. The book is a rambling walking tour, a history lesson, a geological exploration. More than anything else, it's a love letter. Or, more accurately, it's 49 love letters, because Kamiya has structured the book as 49 vignettes, each about a particular spot in the City. He takes us from the place where Europeans first camped in 1776 (Mountain Lake, in today's Richmond District) to a small patch of grass on Telegraph Hill where you can still sit today, watching ships sail through the Gate as one could during the gold rush of 1849. With meticulously-researched history and an easy story-telling style, Kamiya writes of how an Englishman named William Richardson jumped off a ship in 1822, befriended the Spanish comandante at the Presidio and fell in love with his 19-year-old daughter as they danced around the campfire that night. Richardson and Maria Antonia Martinez got married, built the first home in Yerba Buena Cove, and raised three kids as a town grew around them. Kamiya writes "It cannot be a coincidence that one of the world's great cosmopolitan party towns was founded by a runaway who had just met a mixed-race hottie at an all-nighter".
If you love San Francisco as much as I do, with its twisted history and crooked streets, you will love this beautifully-written book. Highly recommended.
One other important thing, I can honestly say this book was the first I have read on a tablet where the experience was better than on paper. I found myself constantly toggling between my reader app and google maps. With google maps I could actually teleport myself to the very spot where each of the 49 essays is embarked. Wow! How technology dazzles.
Gary Kamiya obviously loves this city as much as I do, perhaps more (I have a hard time admitting that). Writing this book must have been a labor of love. The research, the interviews, the fact that he actually visited and spent quality time at each of the places he writes about is impressive. Just reading the Select Bibliography is mind blowing. What’s important, however, is that Mr. Kamiya has taken that knowledge and his experiences and woven amazing little stories that make this book informative, interesting and entertaining. And, it is very well written.