Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas

Rebecca Solnit (Author)


What makes a place? Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit's brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit takes us on a tour that will forever change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically--connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures--butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more. Breathtakingly original, this atlas of the imagination invites us to search out the layers of San Francisco that carry meaning for us--or to discover our own infinite city, be it Cleveland, Toulouse, or Shanghai.


Cartographers: Ben Pease and Shizue Seigel

Designer: Lia Tjandra

Artists: Sandow Birk, Mona Caron, Jaime Cortez, Hugh D'Andrade, Robert Dawson, Paz de la Calzada, Jim Herrington, Ira Nowinski, Alison Pebworth, Michael Rauner, Gent Sturgeon, Sunaura Taylor

Writers and researchers: Summer Brenner, Adriana Camarena, Chris Carlsson, Lisa Conrad, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Paul La Farge, Genine Lentine, Stella Lochman, Aaron Shurin, Heather Smith, Richard Walker

Additional cartography: Darin Jensen; Robin Grossinger and Ruth Askevold, San Francisco Estuary Institute

Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
University of California Press
Publish Date
November 29, 2010
7.11 X 0.58 X 11.92 inches | 1.31 pounds

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About the Author

Rebecca Solnit is the best-selling author of many books, including River of Shadows, for which she won the National Book Critics Circle Award, A Paradise Built in Hell, Savage Dreams (UC Press), and Storming the Gates of Paradise (UC Press).


"A joyous book."--San Francisco Chronicle (11/03/2010)
"This is an amazing and thought-provoking book."--Geist (11/05/2012)
"A gorgeously published book . . . After you have finished savoring this book, which deserves to be read slowly and thoughtfully, you feel like you have been living for decades in San Francisco."-- (08/30/2015)
"Gorgeous and infinitely fascinating . . . A treasure,"-- (09/17/2015)
"...not your average atlas. . . . a fascinating visual representation of San Francisco's many diverse geographical and cultural layers."--Fodor's Travel
"Inventive and affectionate."--New York Times Book Review (12/05/2010)
"This nicely designed book offers a collection of essays and subject specific maps anyone who loves San Francisco will enjoy poring over." (10/18/2011)
"Brilliantly disorients our native sense of place."--San Francisco Magazine (12/01/2010)
"A richly textured graphic book that no electronic format can master yet, Infinite City features Rebecca Solnit as cultural and historical tour guide through the city she calls home."--Shelf Awareness (10/18/2010)
"A fresh and intriguing spin on mapmaking."--Utne (11/01/2010)
"A thrilling new book."--San Francisco Bay Guardian (12/01/2010)
"A gorgeously produced collection of maps and essays."--Los Angeles Review Of Books (07/28/2011)
"A treasure of intricate, intimate maps."--SF360 (12/20/2010)