Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments

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City Lights Foundation Books, Oct 1, 2007 - 236 pages
6 Reviews

"Dana Frank is the kind of smart and funny friend you'd want on any roadtrip. I love this totally original take on some of my favorite spots in Northern California. " -- Beth Lisick, author of Everybody into the Pool and the forthcoming Helping Me Helping Myself

"Historian Dana Frank has given us an exquisitely crafted narrative delving into the mysteries of childhood California haunts, in the process producing a fine California cultural and economic history, reminiscent of Joan Didion's California work." Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of several memoirs including Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

A Bay Area historians nostalgic journey to a series of four local daytrip sites takes an unexpected turn as she explores the mysterious draw of these places. Childhood memories, anecdotes and urban myths lead to interviews and scholarly research as she investigates the hidden stories and surprises both historical and intellectual that she encounters along the way. Whats revealed tells us much about the politics of history and the ways in which history is embedded in the landscape of everyday life.

Writing in a personal, humorous and engaging style, Dana Frank brings the reader along on her process of discovery. Full of surprises and plot twists along the way, her adventures are quirky, fun and informative. The tension between private memory and public history draws us deeper and deeper into each investigation, and small places in California come to symbolize larger political questions in the United States.

A combination of memoir, local history, and reflections on culture, politics and the politics of history-making, Local Girl is heavily illustrated with photos, news clippings and memorabilia. Each essay is also accompanied by a map and driving directions for those who will no doubt become inspired to make their own pilgrimages.

Dana Frank grew up in Los Altos, California and has lived in Santa Cruz most of her life. Since 1991 she has taught at University of California, Santa Cruz in the American Studies and History Departments. She is the author of several books, and has long been active in labor solidarity work.

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Review: Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments

User Review  - Mitch - Goodreads

This book, highlighting four sites in the Santa Cruz area, could be of interest to locals who might discover familiar names of people and places as well as nostalgic parts of their childhood. A ... Read full review

Review: Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments

User Review  - Jamie - Goodreads

I was disappointed in this book. Ok, it was partially my fault as I should have looked into it more before I ordered it. She covers only four local monuments, one of which is the old Cave Train ride ... Read full review



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About the author (2007)

Dana Frank grew up in Los Altos, California and graduated from what is now Mountain View High School in 1974. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, from which she received a B.A. in American Studies in 1978. In 1980 she moved to New Haven, Connecticut, to attend graduate school in American Studies at Yale University. She received her MA in 1982 and her Ph.D. in 1988, with an emphasis on US labor and women's history. She received the George Washington Eggleston Prize for best dissertation in US History. During her years at Yale she was active in solidarity work with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union representing Yale clerical, technical, and blue-collar workers; she also served on the Executive Board of the Union for Radical Political Economics. In 1987-88 she taught history at the State University of New York, Binghamton and from 1988-90 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

In 1991 she returned to Santa Cruz to teach at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the American Studies Department (to 2002) and then History Department.

Franks research topics included but were not limited to U.S. social and cultural history, labor history, gender studies, working-class history and culture, comparative ethnic studies, contemporary political economy, and modern Central America.

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