Cities of the Imagination: San Francisco  
  written by Mick Sinclair
about this book

Within a generation, San Francisco grew from an isolated Mexican trading post with more hills than people into the US’s major Pacific coast city. Shaped by entrepreneurs, eccentrics, rogues, opportunists and visionaries, it became renowned for accommodating those who dared to be different, enabling people as diverse as William Randolph Hearst, Lillie Coit, Carol Doda, Jerry Garcia, and Harvey Milk to thrive as it evolved into one of the world’s most welcoming and visually stunning cities.

Mick Sinclair explores gold-rush San Francisco and the early free-for-all that led to corruption, vigilantism and public hangings. He looks at the mansions of Nob Hill and the spiked drinks and opium-laced cigars of the Barbary Coast. He charts the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance that sired the Beat Generation, the rise of student activism and the Free Speech Movement on the Berkeley campus; the genesis of hippies and Haight-Asbury’s legendary Summer of Love; explains how the Castro became the world’s most famous gay neighbourhood, and how a booming internet economy transformed and then threatened to destroy the city.

With special focus on:


the Golden Gate Bridge; the Transamerica Pyramid; the Ferry Building; Mission Dolores; City Hall, Coit Tower; Alcatraz Island; The Palace of Fine Art; Union Square; the St Francis and Palace hotels; Yerba Buena Center.


Ken Kesey and the Acid Tests; the Grateful Dead; the Jefferson Airplane; the Trips Festival; the Human Be-In; The Diggers.


Ina Donna Coolbrith, Gertrude Atherton, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, George Sterling; Ambrose Bierce; Frank Norris; Dashiel Hammett; Kenneth Rexroth; Allen Ginsberg; Herb Caen; Armistead Maupin.

With 256 pages, including illustrations, maps, index and bibliography.

Published in the UK by Signal Books ISBN 1-902669-64-9 (cloth) 30 ISBN 1-902669-65-7 (paperback) 12

And in the US by Interlink ISBN 1-56656-489-1 (paperback) $15

mick sinclair

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