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Posted November 21, 2002
Bring together an elegant top-quality publishing company, a gifted photographer, superb essayists and you have all the makings for a good book. Let the subject be San Francisco, though, and you have a great book. This is the 3rd edition of this best seller with 218 full color images by Morton Beebe as well as essays by Herb Caen, Tom Cole, Barnaby Conrad, Herbert Gold, John Hart, Allen Pastron, Miguel Pendás, and Kevin Starr. Together, they provide an intimate portrayal of the City by the Bay. This stunning collection of photographs captures the contrasts, the energy, and the vitality of San Francisco. As do the essays. Tom Cole takes us back to the beginning and provides an historical review of the raucous town that suddenly grew up overnight in its feverish bid for gold. Barnaby Conrad leads us into the night with anecdotes witty, clever, and sensuous from an eclectic mix including, to name just a few, Graham Green, Frank Sinatra, and Eva Gabor. "Bahnaby tells me you haf a vooden leg, vitch vun iz it?" "Eva, I never thought I¿d have to tell a Gabor what a man¿s leg feels like." "Vell, dahling, ve vass never in zee lumber business!" In a final essay, Allen Pastron walks us through much of the city beneath our feet. Here, we discover the world¿s finest anchorage being dug up and, therein, its archaeological heritage. Penned a "worm's-eye-view," the essay provides some wonderful insights into what was once the bawdy Barbary Coast ¿ particularly, the story of the discovery of the buried ship General Harrison. Rudyard Kipling opined San Francisco was "a mad city ¿ inhabited by perfectly insane people." So it lives on! Multi-faceted lifestyles unfold with each page, the images capturing the curious joie de vivre that reigns over The City. Other pictures highlight the unmistakable landmarks: the skyline with its Pyramid Building, the Golden Gate, and my favorite, the Palace of Fine Arts in the gentle light of dusk below a full moon glowing. The photos speak volumes in this book. Each offers a glimpse as to why the city Herbert Gold called "America¿s last great metropolitan village" has won the most coveted travel destination award in the world ¿ now ten years in a row ¿ the Condé Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards. San Francisco, City by the Bay, was first published in 1985. This edition features ninety new images and three new essays. The publisher, Abrams, boasts that Beebe's book is their longest running best seller. Not surprisingly. It is said that San Francisco is a city full of people that want to be here. Morton Beebe, a 3rd generation San Franciscan, reminds us of why this is so.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.