House of Four Doors

by Lauren Coodley

Lauren Coodley has written a quartet of innovative histories of Napa and published several books about Upton Sinclair, who spent most of his astonishing life in California. In this volume, she includes previously unpublished essays about Napa and Sinclair, along with her reflections on teaching inside and about the State Hospital, while developing the first classes in the History of American Women. The book maps the “four doors” of her writing life.

“This exquisite book of essays and poetry is deeply rooted in a feminist sensibility, glowing with the personal and political insights from this remarkable teacher, writer, philosopher, critic, mother. The hours spent with the author opens doors of revelation to both the writer’s and the reader’s reality.”

—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

“In this gem of a publication Coodley reflects on her decades of teaching; celebrates women writers and her own colleagues in struggle; brilliantly highlights the life and contributions of feminist and labor activist Upton Sinclair; and adds to her pioneering work on local history by producing new articles recalling the past in her adopted hometown of Napa.”
—Harvey Schwartz, Author, Solidarity Stories: An Oral History of the ILWU and Building the Golden Gate Bridge: A Workers’ Oral History

“Engaging and intimate, Coodley’s House of Four Doors encompasses a period in which Napa was ‘gloriously unpretentious’ to it becoming a world-famous destination. Her work ranges from her own creation of and teaching women’s studies at Napa College, to her biography of Upton Sinclair, to the stories of beloved Napans. Her frank assessments offer a window into one woman’s participation in a period of phenomenal change, and of looking into the histories of those often forgotten, or lost, in the tide of wine.”
–Patricia Damery, Author, Fruits of Eden: Field Notes 1991-2021

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