Sketches from a North Beach Journal
Heroes and Heroines, the Wise and the Wily: San Franciscans from the Gold Rush to Yesterday
by ERNEST BEYL
Available Now | Non-fiction / $16.95
San Franciscans from the Gold Rush of 1849 to yesterday have had a fascination with larger-than-life characters—from heroes and heroines to scoundrels—who have added a sense of vigor and panache to the city. Many of the prominent figures in this book have lived, worked, or just hung out in North Beach. The result is a vibrant, cultural hodge-podge—a San Francisco treasure, an exciting place to live or—if you’re a visitor—to dine, shop or just stroll the streets. These sketches present some of the distinctive contributors to the laid back, laissez faire atmosphere and attitudes of the old San Francisco neighborhood.
Ernest Beyl’s history/memoir offers un- pretentious, clear-eyed portraits, based on first-hand knowledge, of some of the characters who have given heart and soul to one of America’s great neighborhoods.
– Gary Kamiya, author of Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco
About the Author:
Ernest Beyl is a San Francisco writer who has long been fascinated by the history of his city and the characters, then and now, who have made it buzz with excitement. He writes not only about San Francisco history, but also about food, restaurants, jazz, fly fishing and whatever else strikes his fancy. His monthly column for San Francisco’s Marina Times gave him the idea for this book of Sketches from a North Beach Journal.
As a kid he was fascinated by the writer Richard Halliburton, a romantic loner who spent his life on what he called The Royal Road to Romance—title of his first book. Wishing to travel that royal road himself Beyl joined the marines at eighteen which seemed the most practical way to see the world. Following peacetime service in Asia and the Pacific he attended Stanford University and that set him up for a career in journalism. He became a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Mateo Times and later a free-lancer for magazines and newspapers. He did a stint as a Hollywood press agent which led him to Sun Valley, the Idaho ski resort, where he served as publicity manager and where he met an early idol, Ernest Hemingway.
These days he spends his time on his newspaper column, reinventing himself as a playwright (a new discipline for him), and playing the Chinese gong for the Green Street Mortuary Marching Band (an activity he got into while researching a magazine story). He’s married, has two sons and a daughter and lives on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill.
Photo: Fred Lyon