Could anyone recommend good historical fiction titles set in San Francisco/Central Cal.? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I will be visiting the San Francisco and Monterey area next summer and wonder if anyone could recommend some good historical fiction novels set in early San Francisco, Monterey or central Calif. area (I am familiar with Steinbeck's novels). Any titles you could recommend for my enjoyment prior to and during my trip would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Jeff M. (, February 21, 2000


If you want stories set in late 19th & early 20th century San Francisco, you might enjoy these: "McTeague" - Frank Norris - a very dark, naturalistic story about a dentist who lives and works on Polk Street. Great descriptions. "Blix" - Frank Norris - A much lighter love story set in the city. "Martin Eden" - Jack London - A sailor educates himself but isn't happy. Most of it is set in the city and the east bay. "John Barleycorn" - Jack London - A mostly humorous autobiographical account of his struggles with drink. It has good descriptions of the area. "Tales of the Fish Patrol" - Jack London - Adventure stories about his time as an oyster pirate and later as someone who chased the oyster pirates. "Mama's Bank Account" - Kathryn Forbes - A very popular story about a Norwegian family living in the city. It was the basis for the movie "I Remember Mama".

-- Joe Thompson (, February 22, 2000.

A good entertaining read with a good bit of history about the City is "Land's End" by state librarian, Kevin Starr. (Mc Graw-Hill, 1979) Besides a big slug of history there are sections about the city govrnment based on Starr's stint with the Alioto administration and as city librarian. It's fictionalized but all very recognizable.

-- Don Martinich (, February 26, 2000.

Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon, set in SF, and others. Also, take the SF Hammett tour of the sites in the book.

California Historical Society on Mission St in SF is a good source. Their web page is

Lots of interesting photos and pubs.

-- fred pitts (, April 04, 2000.

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