The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld

Overview


The history of the Barbary Coast properly begins with the gold rush to California in 1849. If the precious yellow metal hadn't been discovered ... the development of San Francisco's underworld in all likelihood would have been indistinguishable from that of any other large American city. Instead, owing almost entirely to the influx of gold-seekers and the horde of gamblers, thieves, harlots, politicians, and other felonious parasites who battened upon them, there arose a unique criminal district that for almost ...
See more details below
Paperback
$13.64
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $4.39   
  • New (4) from $9.37   
  • Used (10) from $4.39   
Sending request ...

Overview


The history of the Barbary Coast properly begins with the gold rush to California in 1849. If the precious yellow metal hadn't been discovered ... the development of San Francisco's underworld in all likelihood would have been indistinguishable from that of any other large American city. Instead, owing almost entirely to the influx of gold-seekers and the horde of gamblers, thieves, harlots, politicians, and other felonious parasites who battened upon them, there arose a unique criminal district that for almost seventy years was the scene of more viciousness and depravity, but which at the same time possessed more glamour, than any other area of vice and iniquity on the American continent. The Barbary Coast is Herbert Asbury's classic chronicle of the birth of San Francisco—a violent explosion from which the infant city emerged full-grown and raging wild. From all over the world practitioners of every vice stampeded for the blood and money of the gold fields. Gambling dens ran all day including Sundays. From noon to noon houses of prostitution offered girls of every age and race. (In the 1850s, San Francisco was home to only one woman for every thirty men. It was not until 1910 that the sexes achieved anything close to parity in their populations.) This is the story of the banditry, opium bouts, tong wars, and corruption, from the eureka at Sutter's Mill until the last bagnio closed its doors seventy years later.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This 1933 title could be called The Gangs of San Francisco. Like the author's previous The Gangs of New York, which spawned the recent film of the same name, it is a history of one city's underworld in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254089
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 598,715
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

I "The Miners Came in Forty-Nine" 3
II Hounds and Harlots 32
III The Sydney Ducks 49
IV The Second Cleansing 75
V "Where No Gentle Breezes Blow" 98
VI The Bella Union 125
VII The Chinese and the Hoodlums 138
VIII The Slaves of Chinatown 165
IX "God Help the Poor Sailor!" 198
X "Company, Girls!" 232
XI Slummers' Paradise 278
XII The End of the Barbary Coast 299
Index 314
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Historic Accuracy in Question

    When I was reading The Barbary Coast, my great-great Grandfather's name, George Reuben came up. Asbury said he was a crimp. Claimed GG-G'ma Mary Reuben ran a boarding house. He had everything right about them except what they did. He confused them with George & Mary Roeben. G'pa Reuben owned a store on California St., Yankee Notions & Fine Goods. That error perpetuated through later histories. Asbury didn't care about the details, just the story. There are many errors in this book but it IS a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2006

    barbary coast one minor correction

    My grandfather talked about correcting one mistake the author made in writing about my grandfathers brother. The author wrote, Ed Pincus' eye was gouged out in a fight. My grandfather said it was an accident.A friend was twirling a cane, and alas caught him in the eye.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2004

    The Barbary Coast Perfect

    Great book can not say enough about this book .Anyone that loves history as I do will love this book. Well written smooth reading took me about two weeks to read. Great book cover looks nice in my library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)