"Dana Frank is the kind of smart and funny friend you'd want on any roadtrip. I love this totally original take on some of my favorite spots in Northern California. " -- Beth Lisick, author of Everybody into the Pool and the forthcoming Helping Me Helping Myself
"Historian Dana Frank has given us an exquisitely crafted narrative delving into the mysteries of childhood California haunts, in the process producing a fine California cultural and economic history, reminiscent of Joan Didion's California work." — Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of several memoirs including Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
A Bay Area historian’s nostalgic journey to a series of four local daytrip sites takes an unexpected turn as she explores the mysterious draw of these places. Childhood memories, anecdotes and urban myths lead to interviews and scholarly research as she investigates the hidden stories and surprises — both historical and intellectual — that she encounters along the way. What’s revealed tells us much about the politics of history and the ways in which history is embedded in the landscape of everyday life.
Writing in a personal, humorous and engaging style, Dana Frank brings the reader along on her process of discovery. Full of surprises and plot twists along the way, her adventures are quirky, fun and informative. The tension between private memory and public history draws us deeper and deeper into each investigation, and small places in California come to symbolize larger political questions in the United States.
A combination of memoir, local history, and reflections on culture, politics and the politics of history-making, Local Girl is heavily illustrated with photos, news clippings and memorabilia. Each essay is also accompanied by a map and driving directions for those who will no doubt become inspired to make their own pilgrimages.
Dana Frank grew up in Los Altos, California and has lived in Santa Cruz most of her life. Since 1991 she has taught at University of California, Santa Cruz in the American Studies and History Departments. She is the author of several books, and has long been active in labor solidarity work.