Arcadia Publishing Photo Books - Old News Reviews


Today through Friday I'm going to post a book review a day. That's only 5 book reviews so I think I can handle it. Instead of thick academic stuff I'm only reviewing photo books, zines, and coffee table books because sometimes that kind of thing is more fun. And for the hell of it I'm starting by reviewing a whole series: the Arcadia Publishing photo books. They're a sort of brilliant, hyper-local niche marketing concept: one photo book for each community, sub-culture, and era within a particular town or region. The photo reproduction is low-quality and the writing varies depending on the editor of each book, but they tend to pick solid, local historian/authors and the photos are priceless even if they're a little grainy.

Some likeable Bay Area centric titles include Oakland's Chinatown by local sweetheart Bill Wong, San Francisco State University by State's own archivist Meredith Eliassen, and The Pullman Porters and West Oakland by a roving pair of black history researchers. But there are dozens of other titles focused on the history of our towns' fire departments, movie theaters, sports teams and neighborhoods.


Count Mockula said...

I've bought several of the Sacramento ones and a Delta one for my mom. They've recently released a Tahoe Park one, too.

Bay Radical said...

Oh, I want to check out that Delta one. The whole time I lived in Sac I barely knew the Delta existed. Now I'm fascinated.

Count Mockula said...

The Delta is really worth a day trip or two. Walk into the Ryde Hotel, the Grand Island Mansion, the town of Locke (fascinating history), the old sugar mill... My step-dad grew up in Rio Vista, so I've gotten to know the Delta a bit. Did you know there are hundreds of islands, five different types of bridges, and the only postal service by boat? It's really pretty cool.

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