Five Fires by David Wyatt: A Final Review

My plan was to read Five Fires one chapter a time, the way I did with Kevin Starr’s book California.   While this didn’t exactly give me a legion of new followers, it was a very useful way for me to read the book since it allowed me to really focus on each chapter in more depth as a way to truly learn from reading it.  I’m not … Continue reading Five Fires by David Wyatt: A Final Review

Five Fires: Race Catastrophe and the Shaping of California by David Wyatt. Chapter 4 – The San Francisco Earthquake and The Culture of Spectacle

Take a look at this famous photograph of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake by photographer Arnold Genthe. The thing to note, according to David Wyatt is not the smoke rising from the city burning at the foot of Sacramento Street.  The important thing, the new thing, the thing that will become a part of California’s character is the well-dressed crowd of spectators standing in the … Continue reading Five Fires: Race Catastrophe and the Shaping of California by David Wyatt. Chapter 4 – The San Francisco Earthquake and The Culture of Spectacle

Five Fires: Race Catastrophe and the Shaping of California — Chapter Three: Exclusion, The Chinese and the Daughter’s Arrival

David Wyatt has an interesting way of looking at the Chinese experience of California, not one I had thought of before. This thesis is that California has been shaped by racism throughout its history and that this can be seen in the literature of each major catastrophic event in California’s history. The Gold Rush is the second catastrophic event covered in Mr Wyatt’s book, but … Continue reading Five Fires: Race Catastrophe and the Shaping of California — Chapter Three: Exclusion, The Chinese and the Daughter’s Arrival

Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe and the Shaping of California by David Wyatt–Chapter One: The Wild Oat

Five Fires by Davie Wyatt is not what I expected.  I was expecting a straightforward history with a focus on the five events named on the back cover: the arrival of the wild oat, the Gold Rush, the San Francisco earthquake, World War II and the Watts Riots. David Wyatt delivers as promised, but instead of the expected look at the historical record, Mr. Wyatt’s history … Continue reading Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe and the Shaping of California by David Wyatt–Chapter One: The Wild Oat