Imperial San Francisco
I read this a while ago; Michelle got it for me.
Imperial San Francisco - Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, by Gray Brechin is a great history of the abuses of power in the early history of San Francisco. While i'm obviously all in favour of exposing the crimes which underly most american fortunes, i was sort of hoping for a bit more breadth of discussion.
The book primarily recounts the history of the DeYoung's, the Hearsts, the Scott's, and the University in Berkeley as uniformly rapacious and morally bankrupt; with references enough to be convincing, if you need to be convinced of that sort of thing.
All in all well worth the read.
On quick quote about our friend Hearst
In 1945 .. His attorney, John Francis Neylan, was instrumental in breaking strikes while Hearst kept in close touch with him from Europe. During the publisher's visit to Germany that summer, Adolf Hitler invited him to Berlin for a long, private interview.
.. Shortly after [an alleged deal w/ the Nazis], Hearst's Sunday newspapers began syndicating columns by General Hermann Goering and Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, giving 30 million Americans the Nazi point of view without space for rebuttal. Simultaneously, Hearst launched his crusade against treason in the classroom and for loyalty oaths.
One of the most charming aspects of the book is the collection of political cartoons from the old SF newspaper, The Wasp. These cartoons are amazingly biting when cast against the prevailing climate of the times.