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Fortress Alcatraz Paperback – August 15, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* A painstakingly researched history of Alcatraz by former national park ranger and noted Alcatraz historian John Arturo Martini.

* Lavishly illustrated with 150 diagrams and archival photographs, including rare 1869 photos by Eadweard Muybridge.

* Of the many books written on Alcatraz, this is the first to detail the island’s nearly forgotten but fascinating military history.

About the Author

JOHN ARTURO MARTINI is a native San Franciscan, is a lifelong researcher into the history of the American West and specializes in historic preservation. He was a national park ranger for more than 25 years and served for many years at the Presidio of San Francisco as curator of military history for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He is the author of several books and articles on San Francisco military history and is currently working on an exhaustive history of all buildings remaining on Alcatraz. He lives in Fairfax, California, with his wife and a pair of pygmy goats.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Revised edition (August 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580086268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580086264
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,709,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on December 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
For the first time, the fascinating story of the U.S. Army's nearly 90 years on Alcatraz comes to life - coastal guns, Civil War and San Francisco, army family life on the island, and tales of the military prison. John Martini describes the Rock in a lively manner and gives us an exciting history, well-illustrated with rare 19th-century photographs." Erwin N. Thompson Historian
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Format: Paperback
Not living in California, I only knew Alcatraz as a prison. That's only the tail end of the history of this rock.

I was making a trip to San Francisco with two Japanese visitors who wanted me to be the tour guide. Well, I only knew the city from a sightseeing bus in 1963 and a few brief trips over 30 years ago. I obtained Martini's book to get a flavor of the history of the rock, intending to skim it only. NOT! You can't skim this book. The many, many photos showing the various aspects of the island's history grabbed me immediately. The narrative is knowledgeable (the author was a tour guide on Alcatraz in his youth)and amusing. I couldn't put the book down, reading it from cover to cover before my trip.

The high rating I give this book is an easy call.
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Format: Paperback
Author John Arturo Martini also maintains a web site to update informational materials and publicity for the book. It's at [...]
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Format: Paperback
A former park ranger stationed at Alcatraz and a military historian, Martini takes readers into the days before "the Rock" became a prison. Starting with the first mappings of San Francisco Bay by the Spanish and English through the modern day, Martini presents an amazing number of photographs of and stories about life on Alcatraz. Particularly interesting is how designs for the fort and its armaments changed over the years from the Mexican-American War through the Civil War and through to World War II. It's quite a different look at the island that the common focus on Al Capone, the Bird Man and other inhabitants of the federal prison.
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