Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"On my thirteenth birthday, my father took me to lunch at the Poodle Dog, one of San Francisco's oldest restaurants, the kind of place with red leather banquettes and smoke-stained walls." From the Introduction to Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California by Frances Dinkelspiel. I forgot to list the opening sentence when I started this book last week, and am now almost halfway through. This is a hugely entertaining history of California centered on one man -- a financier and investor who played a major role in getting Los Angeles off the ground before moving to San Francisco where he . . . . I don't know yet; I have to keep reading! Dinkelspiel is Hellman's great-great-granddaughter and a journalist. The book moves along at a good clip, written in a clear, journalistic style. I am really enjoying it. I am reviewing it for the upcoming issue of The Internet Review of Books. It is also the "gold" book on my Colorful Reading Challenge list.