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Available in September!

Napa State Hospital Cover Image

Napa State Hospital

By Patricia Prestinary, Foreword by Lauren Coodley. Arcadia Press, 2014

Napa, because of its natural beauty and optimal conditions for “moral treatment,” was chosen as the second site for a state hospital to ease overcrowding in Stockton Asylum. When the fully self-sustaining Napa Asylum opened in 1875, it quickly filled to capacity and became home to many people suffering from mental illness, alcoholism, grief, and depression. More

 

Frankie's Journey cover thumbnail

Frankie's Journey: The Silk Road to Napa

By Stephanie Farrell Grohs and Lauren Coodley, with an afterword by Rue Ziegler. The Mousetail Press, 2014

Frankie’s Journey traces the 1908 trek of an imaginary San Francisco boy from his home at the Youth’s Directory, a Catholic charity in San Francisco, to St. Joseph’s Institute, an experimental farm in Napa County. There has never before been a book about this extraordinary experiment in the rehabilitation of street children utilizing the teaching of agricultural skills – including silk cultivation. More

Frankie's Journey is available at Copperfields Books, Napa BookMine, Amazon.com and Book Passage in Marin County.

 

Current Publications:

Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual by Lauren Coodley

Available Now from: University of Nebraska Press, Reader's Books in Sonoma, and University Press Bookstore in Berkley

Listen to Lauren in audio interviews about this book; with New Books in American Studies , "Majority Report with Sam Seder" and  "Writers Voice" with Francesca Rheannon

Upton Sinclair

Had Upton Sinclair not written a single book after The Jungle, he would still be famous. But Sinclair was a mere twenty-five years old when he wrote The Jungle, and over the next sixty-five years he wrote nearly eighty more books and won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He was also a filmmaker, labor activist, women’s rights advocate, and health pioneer on a grand scale. This new biography of Sinclair underscores his place in the American story as a social, political, and cultural force, a man who more than any other disrupted and documented his era in the name of social justice.

Reviews:

“Lauren Coodley’s perceptive account should awaken fresh interest in one of the twentieth century’s more fascinating cultural figures and his extraordinary—sadly, mostly forgotten—body of work.”—Julie Salamon, author of Wendy and the Lost Boys


“Upton Sinclair traversed the first half of the twentieth century like a rogue star. His prodigious writing and activism in the service of social justice perturbed the status quo, awakening millions to everything from appalling working conditions, poisoned food, and media bias to the rise of fascism and environmental decline. Yet his determination to lead a balanced and healthy life led some biographers to disparage him as less than a full man. Lauren Coodley rescues Sinclair from such critical condescension and reminds us of the many lives that he packed into one even as he moved the lives of both the common and the great.”—Gray Brechin, author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin

"Historian Coodley (California: A Multicultural Documentary History) narrates little-known aspects of Sinclair’s life, such as his gubernatorial campaign in California in 1934...Coodley’s biography should renew interest in the works of this passionate writer." Publishers Weekly Review

"Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! was the basis for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film There Will Be Blood, and director David Schimmer has spoken of adapting Sinclair’s most influential novel, The Jungle. But who remembers that the muckraking author took an active hand in filmmaking? That’s one of the revelations in Lauren Coodley’s cogent, critical biography, Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual (published by University of Nebraska Press)..."
David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee

"Perhaps you’ve seen the bumper sticker: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Upton Sinclair was paying attention. This biography is a balanced but sympathetic look at the idealistic, passionate man who wrote The Jungle when he was just 25. ... Coodley emphasizes Sinclair’s support for temperance and women’s suffrage (and other feminist issues, including housework and childcare), and she shows how those issues fit together in the early 20th century. ... I enjoyed this well-edited account, which moved right along without undue verbiage, and yet gave a rounded, insightful sense of Sinclair and his times"
Historical Novel Society

"...an invaluable look at Sinclair’s full life and influential work and how much his long battle against worker oppression remains relevant in today’s corporate and media-driven world." — Carl Hays, Booklist

More...

 


Napa Valley Chronicles by Lauren Coodley

Available from The History Press, Napa Valley Traditions, Reader's Books in Sonoma, and Copperfields Books

Napa Valley Chronicles 

 

In 1905, Napa’s mayor, J.A. Fuller, announced, “Napa for half a century has been slumbering in a Rip Van Winkle sleep but she has awakened at last.” Back then, fifteen cents bought coffee and a donut at the Depot and Sawyer’s Tannery made soft leather baseball gloves.

In this collection, local author Lauren Coodley reimagines the unvarnished country life of historic Napa Valley through the stories of notables like postmaster Ernest Kincaid, Napa Register reporter Phyllis King, firefighter historian Rita Bordwell and Brewster’s owners Rachel and Larry Friedman. Trace the region’s lasting legacy, from the time when a horse and buggy purchased Browns Valley to the days when art galleries replaced blue-collar businesses and the California grape took center stage from Sunsweet prunes.

Preview

Reviews:

"I love the book! I got five copies through Amazon.com, and have already given some away, but I need more for some more members of my family. Of course, I loved to see my mother Phyllis King brought to life in the book, but I'm fascinated by every chapter. It's so interesting to see history told through the eyes of some less usual sources... women, minorities and ordinary people. You get a real feeling for the changes that occurred throughout the years in Napa, and how they affected everyone. Some stories are told from your personal point of view, which makes them very engaging. When you express nostalgia or regret for changes and transformations that occurred over time, it adds a real depth of feeling to the book. Great job!"
Liz Reyna

"From the extraordinary front cover photograph of Napa a century ago as farmland and orchards to the shimmering painting on the back cover, Napa Valley Chronicles is a delightful book. California historian Lauren Coodley has woven a rich and varied tapestry of stories and photographs from the 19th century to the present. Although I lived in Napa for 17 years and many of the names in this book are familiar, I never knew most of this history, including that Napa had a Chinatown, a Little Italy, and a neighborhood where descendants of the Mexican land grantees lived on streets bearing their names. (Full disclosure: my description of Terrace Drive, where I lived, is included in the book). I loved learning about pioneer women who farmed and raised livestock, Japanese laborers, a nurse at the Asylum (as Napa State Hospital was called), tannery workers, feminist leaders, and the many other ordinary people who are given a voice. This is people's history at its broadest and best."
By Nancy Manahan, on October 11, 2013



Napa Valley Farming

Available now from Arcadia Publishing, Napa Valley Traditions, and Copperfields Books

Napa Valley Farming Napa, California

Napans tend more than grapevines. The area's diverse soil and mild climate make possible a generous yield of agricultural products. This book traces the cultivation of these products through a chronology of Napa's farming history, from indigenous food plants to the orchards that were planted to feed gold miners -- orchards that would soon function as both therapy and sustenance for the patients in the newly created Asylum. Immigrants from Italy and Germany and Japan and China joined newly emancipated slaves and Mexican citizens who had settled here before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Together they cultivated the land, picked the fruit, nuts, and hops, cut the wheat, kept bees, and tended livestock on dairy farms and cattle ranches. Each chapter begins with a poem inspired by farming or a recipe reflecting the valley's bounty. The scents of peaches, apples, cherries, pears, prunes, and honey linger in the imaginations of thousands of locals, while the trees, hives, and vines continue to thrive wherever placed.

Read more here...

St Helena Star - review link

Other Publications by Lauren:

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