There are thousands of wonderful books published about San Francisco.  These are a few that we recommend highly.

Guides

Since the Tower was first opened to the public during the turbulent times of the 1930s, there has been increased interest in the Public Works Art Project (PWAP), recognized today as the most significant collection of New Deal art. The influence of renowned Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, has focused additional attention on the murals, since some of the 26 Tower artists had studied with him.

In 2008, the Tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

The only fully illustrated guide to the park, this book is filled with color photos and stories celebrating this historic and distinctive urban oasis.  A must if you plan to spend the day in Golden Gate Park.

History

A runaway San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, Cool Gray City of Love is a one-of-a-kind book for a one-of-a-kind city. It’s a love song in 49 chapters to an extraordinary place, taking 49 different sites around the city as points of entry and inspiration-from a seedy intersection in the Tenderloin to the soaring sea cliffs at Lands End. Encompassing the city’s Spanish missionary past, a gold rush, a couple of earthquakes, the Beats, the hippies, and the dot-com boom, this book is at once a rambling walking tour, a natural and human history, and a celebration of place itself-a guide to loving any place more faithfully and fully.

the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher from backwater city to thriving metropolis.

Books Written by Friends of Ours

Local residents, visitors, and armchair travelers will all be delighted and informed by this unique visual resource. It combines an insightful study of San Francisco and Bay Area history with a thorough survey of its Victorian-era house styles. Prominently featured are house museums to visit among the many fine examples of 19th-century homes from the City and its neighboring communities across the Bay. Chronologically arranged chapters represent the Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Stick/Eastlake, Queen Anne, and Shingle Victorian styles, as well as the Edwardian era (1901-1914), considered the postscript for the Victorian age. Supported by period archival images, the lively and authoritative text by Duchscherer is lavishly illustrated throughout with superb color photography by Keister. Included is a section called, Before and After, that presents the architectural transformations made by dedicated homeowners, who have brought neglected Victorian houses back to life, thus contributing to today’s vital historic-preservation movement. More inspiration is to be found in the concluding chapter on, Victorian Revival Interiors, a spectacular showcase of recent period-style interior-design projects.

Narrative and anecdotal history of San Francisco architecture with 455 archival photographs, including many that have never been published before, of interiors of houses destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, and 140 color illustrations of surviving houses. Begins with the arrival of the Spaniards in California in 1776 and continues until the 1960s. Index and bibliography.

Books we mention on the Tours

The sparkling wines of California rival the best French Champagnes today, but their place at our tables came about through careful craftsmanship that began more than a century ago. The predecessor of today’s California bubbly was Eclipse Champagne, the first commercially successful California sparkling wine, produced by Arpad Haraszthy in the mid- to late nineteenth century. In A Toast to Eclipse, Brian McGinty offers a definitive history of the wine, exploring California’s winemaking past and two of the people who put the state’s varietal wines on the map: Arpad and his father Agoston Haraszthy, the legendary “father of California viticulture.”

Rare photographs of Chinatown at the turn of the 20th century offer priceless glimpses of the rich street life of the district before it was leveled by the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Contains 130 of Genthe’s finest Chinatown photos, many painstakingly reproduced from original glass negatives or lantern slides, and complemented with Tchen’s text outlining the turbulent history of Chinese-Americans in California.

Like a lot of young people in the 1970s, Mark Bittner took the path of the “dharma bum.” When the counterculture faded, Mark held on, seeking shelter in the nooks and crannies of San Francisco’s fabled bohemian neighborhood, North Beach. While living on the eastern slope of Telegraph Hill, he made a magical discovery: a flock of wild parrots. In this unforgettable story, Bittner recounts how he became fascinated by the birds and patiently developed friendships with them that would last more than six years. When a documentary filmmaker comes along to capture the phenomenon on film, the story takes a surprising turn, and Bittner’s life truly takes flight.

You may be familiar with the tremendous life achievements of José Sarria, an integral player in the gay rights movement, but never before have you heard the intimate details of his incredible life as they are portrayed here. In The Empress Is a Man: Stories from the Life of José Sarria (winner of the Lammy Award in the transgender category), Michael Gorman exposes Sarria’s life in a frank manner and with a unique storytelling ability that simultaneously causes amusement and sadness. Sarria’s amazing life story tells of his perserverance to advance the cause of equality for gay citizens.

Wide-Open Town traces the history of gay men and lesbians in San Francisco from the turn of the century, when queer bars emerged in San Francisco’s tourist districts, to 1965, when a raid on a drag ball changed the course of queer history. Bringing to life the striking personalities and vibrant milieu that fueled this era, Nan Alamilla Boyd examines the culture that developed around the bar scene and homophile activism. She argues that the communities forged inside bars and taverns functioned politically and, ultimately, offered practical and ideological responses to the policing of San Francisco’s queer and transgender communities. Using police and court records, oral histories, tourist literature, and manuscript collections from local and state archives, Nan Alamilla Boyd explains the phenomenal growth of San Francisco as a “wide-open town”—a town where anything goes. She also relates the early history of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement that took place in San Francisco prior to 1965.

Local residents, visitors, and armchair travelers will all be delighted and informed by this unique visual resource. It combines an insightful study of San Francisco and Bay Area history with a thorough survey of its Victorian-era house styles. Prominently featured are house museums to visit among the many fine examples of 19th-century homes from the City and its neighboring communities across the Bay. Chronologically arranged chapters represent the Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Stick/Eastlake, Queen Anne, and Shingle Victorian styles, as well as the Edwardian era (1901-1914), considered the postscript for the Victorian age. Supported by period archival images, the lively and authoritative text by Duchscherer is lavishly illustrated throughout with superb color photography by Keister. Included is a section called, Before and After, that presents the architectural transformations made by dedicated homeowners, who have brought neglected Victorian houses back to life, thus contributing to today’s vital historic-preservation movement. More inspiration is to be found in the concluding chapter on, Victorian Revival Interiors, a spectacular showcase of recent period-style interior-design projects.