History
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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Palimpsest
A History of the Written Word
A profound, eloquent meditation on the history of writing, from Mesopotamia to multimedia. Why does writing exist? What does it mean to those who write? Born from the interplay of natural and cultural history, the seemingly magical act of writing has continually expanded our consciousness. Portrayed in mythology as either a gift from heroes...
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Writing on the Wall
Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Johanna Fernández
New Release: Mumia Abu-Jamal's essential perspectives on black experience, race relations, freedom, justice, social change, and the future of American society. With a foreword by Cornel West.
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San Francisco in the 1930s
The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay
Federal Writers Project of the Works Project Administration
"San Francisco has no single landmark by which the world may identify it," according to San Francisco in the 1930s, originally published in 1940. This would surely come as a surprise to the millions who know and love the Golden Gate Bridge or...
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Memories of Our Future
Selected Essays 1982-1999
Ammiel Alcalay
Voted one of the Top 25 Books of 1999 by the Village Voice."An outstanding anthology of essays surveying the complexities of Mediterranean cultures; the diverse, changing space of the Balkans, Middle East, and North Africa-areas of diasporas...
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The Watchers
A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
Stephen Alford
We think we have evolved—we haven't. The politics of any age are the politics of all ages. Whether 5000, 2500, 1000, 500 or 50 years ago, the reasoning and methods are the same. They win, we lose. Parallels abound with both the Cold War and Post-9/11 Weltenschauung. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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The Barbary Coast
An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
Herbert Asbury
You're standing right in it! The Barbary Coast. 150 years ago this area was a den of such vice and iniquity that it would've made even the Marquis de Sade blush. Find out why... —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin
The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher
Kim Bancroft
Northern California's book publishers are idiosyncratic, uncompromising, funky, forward-thinking, often brilliant, but largely unheralded beyond the state’s borders. Here’s the perfect book to shift that paradigm. Malcolm Margolin’s story of creating and sustaining Heyday Books, a vital Berkeley-based press celebrating its 40th anniversary...
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SPQR
A History of Ancient Rome
Mary Beard
A sweeping, revisionist history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists. Ancient Rome was an imposing city even by modern standards, a sprawling imperial metropolis of more than a million inhabitants, a "mixture of luxury and filth, liberty and exploitation, civic pride and murderous civil war" that served as the seat of...
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Empire of Cotton
A Global History
Sven Beckert
The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Sven Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today.
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Ten Years That Shook the City
San Francisco 1968-1978
Chris Carlsson
The alliances, programs, and goals of a historic decade that continues to shape SF and the world.
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Ready for Revolution
The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Stokely Carmichael
Head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Honorary prime minister of the Black Panther Party. Bestselling author. Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) is an American legend, one whose work as a civil rights leader fundamentally altered the...
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Codex Espangliensis
From Columbus to the Border Patrol
Enrique Chagoya, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Felicia Rice
Inspired by the pre-Hispanic codices that escaped immolation during colonial invasions, this artists' book opens out in accordion folds expanding to a length of over 21 feet. Rice has created a series of beautiful and jarring montages in which the...
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San Francisco Chinatown
A Guide to Its History and Architecture
Philip P. Choy
Both a history of America's oldest Chinese community and a guide to its significant sites and architecture San Francisco Chinatown is the first book of its kind, written by someone born and raised there.
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Fantasies of the Master Race
Literature, Cinema, and the Colonization of American Indians
Ward Churchill
Chosen an "Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States" by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. In this volume of incisive essays, Ward Churchill looks at representations of American Indians in literature...

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