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San Diego in the 1930s

The WPA Guide to America's Finest City

Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration (Author), David Kipen (Introduction)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 160 pages
ISBN: 9780520275386
April 2013
$21.95, £16.99
Other Formats Available:
San Diego in the 1930s offers a lively account of the city’s culture, roadside attractions, and history—from the days of the Spanish missions to the pre-Second World War boom. The guide is revealing both in the opinions it embodies and in the juicy details it records—tidbits such as the bloodiest and most incompetently fought battle of the Mexican-American War, Emma Goldman’s abruptly terminated speech to local Wobblies in 1912, and even a delightfully anachronistic way to beat a San Diego speeding ticket. Brimming with tours that can prove challenging to retrace, this book reminds us of the changes wrought by seven decades of intervening war, peace, and biotechnology. Unlatching a remarkable trapdoor into the past, this compact and charming document of the Depression era invites repeated browsing and is generously illustrated with striking black-and-white photographs that bring the period to life.
Preface, 1937
Foreword, 1937
Introduction to the 2013 Edition

General Information
The Contemporary Scene
The City by Sections
Natural Setting
1. The Indians
2. The Spanish
3. The Mexicans
4. The Americans
Social And Cultural
List Of Tours
Tours In The City
Tours In Environs

The Federal Writers Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) not only provided jobs and income to writers during the Depression, it created for America an astounding series of detailed and richly evocative guides, recounting the stories and histories of the 48 states (plus THE Alaska Territory and Puerto Rico) and many of the country’s major cities.

David Kipen has written the introductions to reissues of the WPA guides to Los Angeles, San Francisco California. He is Southern California Public Radio's book correspondent, and the founder of a lending library/used book store east of Downtown Los Angeles called Libros Schmibros. Past book editor/critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and director of literature at the National Endowment for the Arts—where he led the Big Read initiative—Kipen is the author of The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History, and the translator of Cervantes’ The Dialogue of the Dogs.

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