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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

Book Review:

ReclaimingSan Francisco: History, Politics, Culture

The modern world is characterized by the rapid changes which change the face of cities dramatically.  San Franciscois not an exception since the city has undergone the great changes in the result of the modern trends. In this respect, the book Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture created by James Brook, Chris Carlsson, and Nancy J. Peters is particularly noteworthy since it reveals the development of San Francisco and the current situation in the city, which is quite different from the official position and stereotyped views on San Francisco.

Basically, the book may be viewed as an alternative to the official history ofSan Franciscosince the book is focused on the development of the city in the real life situations and from the point of view of ordinary people living in the city.

To put it more precisely, the book provides very interesting information on the history and evolution of the city which may be viewed as unofficial history of the city. The authors of the book do not pay a lot of attention to officially recognized facts and basic trends in the development of the city. Instead, the authors are focused on the story of people living in the city and problems they regularly face.

In this respect, it should be said that the authors rise a very important problem of immigration. They attempt to depict the life of immigrants, which basically remain ignorant by the official history ofSan Francisco. In actuality, the life of immigrants is extremely important for the understanding of the development and current history of the city because nowadays the role of immigrants in the city is really of a paramount importance. The authors of the book underline that the number of immigrants in the city grew steadily but, in spite of the growing number of immigrants, the official authorities paid little attention to their problems and the fact that the official history ignores its aspect of the development ofSan Franciscoperfectly illustrates this trend.

As for the authors of the book they attempt to depict the life of ordinary people living inSan Franciscoand who actually constitute the major part of its population. Naturally, immigrants are quite numerous and their problems are very significant because, as the authors show, they are often deprived of economic, social and political opportunities to realize their civil rights and influence the local policy.

At the same time, problems of other people are also quite significant for the authors. For instance, they perfectly describe the life of sailors, waterfront workers. Also, they attempt to depict the life of the local intellectual and artistic elite that reveals the extent to whichSan Franciscois rich city, full of talents and really gifted people who though often remain unnoticed by officials. On the other hand, the history and panorama of San Francisco depicted by the authors of the book are not only positive but it has also a lot of problems and, in this respect, it is very important that along with the best representatives of the city the author focus their attention on speculators, land-grabbers, and the land itself which became the subject of numerous conflicts and arguments.

In such a way, the book Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture represents an alternative view onSan Francisco and its development, which is quite different from the official history of the city. At the same time, the development of the city depicted by the authors perfectly reflects the basic trends typical to the modern city.

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