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California's Gold Coast

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXCAL135. Buy these 5 items as a set for $99 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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The Golden Shore, California's Love Affair With the Sea

The Golden Shore, California's Love Affair With the Sea

by David Helvarg

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 325 PAGES

In this eminently readable and well-researched tribute, Helvarg, an environmental journalist and filmmaker, considers the crosscurrents of culture, history, economy and myth that come together on the state's golden shores. (CAL326, $34.99)

My First Summer in the Sierra

My First Summer in the Sierra

by John Muir

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 353 PAGES

Muir's original account of a summer in Yosemite and surrounding High Sierras, based on his youthful notebooks of the summer of 1869. (CAL47, $14.00)

Travelers' Tales San Francisco

Travelers' Tales San Francisco

by James O'Reilly | Larry Habegger | Sean O'Reilly

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 496 PAGES

Experience San Francisco from the inside out with this engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports -- a terrific literary profile of a dynamic city. (SFO15, $18.95)

Eyewitness Guide California

Eyewitness Guide California

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 632 PAGES

A literate, visually rich guide to the Golden State, featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of California's attractions with a particular focus on San Francisco and Los Angeles. (USW146, $30.00)

California Map

California Map

by Borch Maps

  • 2008
  • MAP

A laminated, folded map of California, shown at a scale of 1:1,100,000. (CAL55, $9.95)

 
California Missions

California Missions


by East View Press

  • 2012
  • MAP

This gorgeously tinted hand-drawn map displays California Missions in excellent detail. (CAL329, $5.95)

MapEasy's Guidemap to Napa & Sonoma

MapEasy's Guidemap to Napa & Sonoma


by MapEasy

  • MAP

A handy, informative road map and guide to wineries. (CAL118, $7.95)

Yosemite National Park Map

Yosemite National Park Map


by Trails Illustrated

  • 2009
  • MAP

A detailed, topographic map of Yosemite National Park, shown at a scale of 1:100,000. (CAL40, $11.95)

Eyewitness Top Ten Los Angeles

Eyewitness Top Ten Los Angeles


by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 176 PAGES

A shirt-pocket guide to Los Angeles, this slim book includes an excellent map of the center of the city and essential information on its highlights. (USW186, $14.00)

Fodor's San Francisco's 25 Best

Fodor's San Francisco's 25 Best


by Fodor's

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 128 PAGES

A shirt-pocket guide to San Francisco, this slim book includes an excellent map of the center of the city and essential information on its highlights. (USW185, $12.99)

The Complete Guidebook to Yosemite National Park

The Complete Guidebook to Yosemite National Park


by Steven P. Medley

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 120 PAGES

Published by the Yosemite Association, this slim guide includes practical information on activities, hiking trails, wildlife and history. (CAL51, $12.95)

California, A History

California, A History


by Kevin Starr

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A lively short history in the excellent Modern Library Chronicles series, written by a renowned historian. (CAL204, $16.00)

Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge

Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge


by Kevin Starr

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

Starr covers the history and meaning of this beloved icon and great American feats of engineering in this slim portrait. (SFO52, $16.00)

Life in a California Mission

Life in a California Mission


by Jean Francois de la Perouse | Malcolm Margolin

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1989
  • PAPER
  • 112 PAGES

A remarkable essay about the natural life and native customs of 18th-century California, written by a French explorer while his ships lay at anchor in Monterey Bay. (USW366, $10.95)

Los Angeles, Portrait of a City

Los Angeles, Portrait of a City


by Jim Heimann

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 190 PAGES

Watch Los Angeles transform from desert to a glamorous metropolis through more than 50 photos enhanced by lively quotations and captions. Highlights include the first known picture of the city taken in 1862, a portrait of bikini-clad Jayne Mansfield surrounded by bottles made in her likeness and coverage of Prohibition gangs and the early 90s racial riots. (CAL340, $9.99)

Rush for Riches, Gold Fever and the Making of California

Rush for Riches, Gold Fever and the Making of California


by J. S. Holliday

  • HISTORY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

An illustrated, oversize history of the California Gold Rush and its effects by a noted expert, covering the 1830's through the 1890's and packed with more than 200 illustrations and archival photographs. (USW190, $41.95)

Cool Gray City of Love, 49 Views of San Francisco

Cool Gray City of Love, 49 Views of San Francisco


by Gary Kamiya

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A kaleidoscopic love letter to one of the world's great cities, San Francisco, by a lifelong Bay Area resident and co-founder of Salon. (SFO64, $16.00)

Fifth Chinese Daughter

Fifth Chinese Daughter


by Jade Snow Wong

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1990
  • PAPER
  • 246 PAGES

First published in 1945, Jade Snow Wong's memoir is a simply told, moving story of family life in pre-WWII San Francisco Chinatown. (SFO08, $17.00)

Horatio's Drive, America's First Road Trip

Horatio's Drive, America's First Road Trip


by Dayton Duncan | Ken Burns

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2003
  • HARD COVER
  • 173 PAGES

The companion volume to the PBS film chronicles the nation's first road trip by Horatio Jackson, a 31-year-old Vermont doctor who drove his car from San Francisco to New York on mainly unpaved roads in 1903. (USA439, $24.95)

Big Sur

Big Sur


by Jack Kerouac

  • LITERATURE
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 241 PAGES

Kerouac's gritty, moving take on the destruction of his own myth, as the King of the Beats retires to poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's seaside shack outside San Francisco. (CAL295, $15.00)

Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch


by Henry Miller

  • LITERATURE
  • 1978
  • PAPER

A loving, observant tribute to Big Sur, Miller's home for 15 years. As with many of his works, this is more a collection of reflections, anecdotes and character portraits than a straightforward narrative, and it's just as evocative and thought-provoking as anything he has written. First published in 1957. (CAL143, $18.95)

Cannery Row

Cannery Row


by John Steinbeck

  • LITERATURE
  • 1993
  • PAPER
  • 193 PAGES

Based on memories of characters he met living in Monterey, including his good friend the marine biologist Ed Ricketts, this is Steinbeck's story of the good-natured bums, prostitutes, alcoholics and other denizens of Cannery Row. (USW150, $15.00)

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Slouching Towards Bethlehem


by Joan Didion

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 238 PAGES

A classic collection of essays on the1960s cultural climate, first published in 1968. In the acclaimed title essay, Didion vividly describes the landscape, mood and culture of '60s San Francisco. (SFO11, $15.00)

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep


by Raymond Chandler

  • LITERATURE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 231 PAGES

The classic crime novel from the master of the genre. Here is a journey into the dark underworld of 1930's Los Angeles. (CAL17, $15.00)

The Golden West, Hollywood Stories

The Golden West, Hollywood Stories


by Daniel Fuchs

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

This marvelous collection of stories and essays from Sunny California, many originally appearing in The New Yorker and Commentary, capture the spirit (and personalities) of Hollywood in the heyday of the studio era. (CAL188, $16.95)

Assembling California

Assembling California


by John McPhee

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

Another fine book on geology and natural history from John McPhee, this time in the company of scientist Eldridge Moores, on travels throughout California. (USW187, $17.00)

Trees in Paradise, A California History

Trees in Paradise, A California History


by Jared Farmer

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 544 PAGES

A fascinating account of environmental tumult in California that chronicles the "improvements" attempted by settlers, providing a new perspective on Californian history. (CAL330, $35.00)

Yosemite

Yosemite


by Ansel Adams

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 112 PAGES

A handsome collection of Ansel Adams' photographs of Yosemite National Park. The 66 photographs include Clearing Winter Storm and portraits of Moon, Half Dome and El Capitan. (CAL49, $22.00)

Mac's Field Guide to Yosemite National Park: Birds and Mammals

Mac's Field Guide to Yosemite National Park: Birds and Mammals


by Craig MacGowan

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2000
  • PLASTIC CARD

This double-sided, laminated card features color drawings of the birds and mammals commonly found in Yosemite National Park. (CAL48, $4.95)

National Audubon Society Field Guide to California

National Audubon Society Field Guide to California


by Peter Alden

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

A compact, easy-to-use guide to 1,000 California trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds and other flora and fauna. (CAL07, $22.00)

Yosemite Wildlife

Yosemite Wildlife


by James Kavanagh

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2007
  • PLASTIC CARD

A handy, laminated fold-up card featuring 140 birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. (USW499, $6.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.