Napa: The Transformation of an American Town

Napa, The transformation of a Small Town Cover ImageThe book is part of The Making of America Series presented by Arcadia Publishing. The revised 2007 edition was written with Paula Amen Schmitt and it includes a foreword by Carol Kammen.

September 27, 2004 – New book takes a look at how Napa evolved to what it is today

August 1, 2004 – Press Democrat – “Napa on tap: Hold the ritz, hold the glitz”

“I grew up in Southern California and Napa is not my home town, but this book captured and held my interest every page of the way. It is a surprisingly poignant account of how life has evolved in Napa for the people and creatures living there – from thousands of years ago, up through the decades of the 20th century. I think almost anyone could enjoy this classic American story – the rise and fall of the native Americans, waves of settlers migrating from everywhere, the gold rush, the changing role of women, rise and fall of labor unions & small business, racial relations, and most recently – urban sprawl in a one industry (wine making) city. All this is told through very personal accounts about or by people living in Napa during these times. I particularly appreciated the author’s focus on women and girls. If only our school text books could be half this interesting. I highly recommend this book.” – Helen Cartwright (quoted from

“Napa’s beauty, wineries, and weather draw visitors. To discover the history of this town, Lauren Coodley’s book anchors Napa in its fascinating past. To visit here without reading her book is to miss the remarkable evolution of Napa: Indigenous people, Spanish landowners, gold seekers, farmers: all played a part in transforming the face of Napa and Napa Valley. The book is filled with wonderful photographs, and includes a recipe for Malfatti, the well known ‘raviolis without flour’ still served today at The Depot restaurant. I strongly suggest reading this before your visit to Napa. It will be all the more enjoyable for doing so.” – Winnie St. John (quoted from