Books & Reviews
Lauren’s books can be bought at your favorite independent bookstore
(in person or online), at Costco, and from her publishers
Click the Cover Images for more in depth information of each book.
Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual
by Lauren Coodley
Available Now from: Upton Sinclair - University of Nebraska Press , Reader's Books in Sonoma, and University Press Bookstore in Berkley
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.
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
Napa Valley Farming (Available now, from
Arcadia Press, your local bookstore, and
Napa Traditions )
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 orchard 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...(Click for More)
Land of Orange Groves and Jails: Upton Sinclair's California
Novelist and muckraker Upton Sinclair will forever be associated with The Jungle; however, Sinclair deserves equal accolades for his entertaining critiques of Southern California's oil industry, movie studios, and urban sprawl—most of which still apply today. The Land of Orange Groves and Jails spans fifty years of Sinclair's funny and fiery writings. Taken together, these plays, novels, articles, and pamphlets show how Sinclair's personal life inspired his political activism.
"As a pioneer critic of those who use mass media to distract and debase the electorate, Upton Sinclair remains at least as timely as when he wrote, and arguably more so. Like a skillful host, Professor Coodley introduces us to a fascinating individual, a force of nature whose activism moved history. It's good to see him back - and in fighting form." - Gray Brechin, Author of Imperial San Francisco
Napa: The Transformation of an American Town
The 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.
"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
"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
published by The Napa County Historical Society in 2009
I. Essay: Retracing Juliana’s Path
Photograph: George Yount
Poem: Hunting I
Photograph: Aetna Springs
II. Photograph: Ivy Loeber
Essay: “History Isn’t Always Taught Properly”: the Legacy of Ivy Loeber
Photograph: The Goodman Library
Poem: Brown Street
California: A Multicultural Documentary History
A primary source reader that focuses on the diverse experiences of all groups included in the histories of California: Filipino Americans, farm workers, Japanese farmers, African-Americans, civil rights activists, and more. Blending documents from both public and private sources, this collection will not only successfully hold the attention of students, but also construct a more complete understanding of the people and events that created and shaped California.
"My students are always bored by textbooks but this one
breaks the mold. The documents paint a rich portrait of the past,
giving students a window into what California was like for the native
peoples, the Mexican ranchers, and pioneer women. A rare blend of
multiculturalism, social history, and a way of weaving local stories
into the broader narrative. My students are excited when they learn
by reading old diaries, seeing family pictures, and personal accounts.
This book is sure to excite, challenge, and enlighten!"
- Michael Moriarty, Los Angeles