official review by Guda LM  4 out of 4 stars

‘Values are a society’s collective ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, desirable, and undesirable behaviors.’ American values broadly include those that embrace inclusivity and tolerance, family diversity, and freedom, including that of worship and religious affiliation. San Francisco Values is a book that highlights these very values and particularly those that have shaped the San Francisco Bay Area. The book starts by carefully introducing and explaining the origin and growth of San Francisco, right from the gold rush era.

The authors Geri Spieler and Rick Kaplowitz discuss various topics that include San Francisco’s innovation and advancements in computer and biotechnology and other innovative success stories like that of renowned entrepreneur Steve Jobs. Further, the book discusses more of San Francisco’s strong points like sexual and family diversity, military veterans, controversial wars like the Vietnam and Iraq invasions, health care plans and controversies, and the contentious immigration and race issue. The authors are, however, not blind to San Francisco’s shortcomings both in the present and past. The concluding chapter highlights these issues and the various efforts in place to deal with them. The book also gives pointers and a call to action at the end of every chapter.

The book is very descriptive and speaks directly to the reader in a first-person account. Every topic and sub-topic under discussion is packed with relevant examples that boost them and the statements put across. Additionally, these examples are of real-life present and historical figures, as well as places, articles, government reports, and events. This helps in making the book more compelling, relatable, and interactive. The book has nine chapters that give chronological information from past legislations and events to the current and in a thought-provoking manner.

The aspect I love most about the book is how specific it is, in terms of elaborate examples, facts, figures, and percentages. These ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the information in the read. For instance, when talking about the acceptance of same-sex marriages in America, the percentages are given per group, in terms of 66% of white mainline Protestants or 75% Democrats and 44% Republicans supporting the marriages. I equally love the relevancy of the literature, especially now during the campaign and electioneering period, as it gives pointers on what and how to look out for competent political candidates. There is nothing to dislike about the book as it extensively and interactively covers San Francisco, and in general, America’s past and current issues.

The book is excellently edited; there are only two grammatical and spelling errors. The language employed is intelligible and clean with no profanities, making the read easy and with a rhythmic flow. Additionally, the systematic definitions of terms help in understanding the book and grasping the concepts under discussion. The book can also be a good read for history students and current affairs studies as it is thorough and gives a substantial foundation on the country’s and San Francisco’s growth. I, therefore, give San Francisco Values a rightful 4 out of 4 stars rating. I recommend it to anyone looking for a highly informative read about American and specifically San Franciscan struggles and growth patterns.

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