Posted by: montclairlibrary | November 15, 2018

Books for Bears

With Cal’s 150th anniversary this year and the campus set to host the 121st Big Game this weekend (although at press time it’s looking like smoky conditions might lead to postponement), we thought it would be fun to spotlight some books about the University of California at Berkeley in OPL’s collection.

Speaking of collections, the library’s Oakland History Room has a collection of Cal history info (most of it available for library use only), including Frederick Law Olmsted’s “Report Upon a Projected Improvement of the Estate of the College of California, at Berkeley, Near Oakland” (REF 378.19609 OLMSTED).

The books profiled here are all non-fiction, but for a pretty comprehensive list of fiction set in Berkeley (up until 2012, at least), see this list compiled by the Berkeley Public Library or this list from Berkeleyside.

P.S. – Want to read like an incoming freshman? Check out the annual summer reading list recommended by Cal faculty, staff and students.

10 Books to Help You Understand Berkeley and Cal, a list by the Friends of Montclair Library

There Was Light: Autobiography of a University: Berkeley, 1868-1968 edited by Irving Stone (378.794 STONE) (not at Montclair) – Published for Cal’s centennial in 1968, this compilation features personal reminiscences of notable alumni, from John Kenneth Galbraith to Lillian Gilbreth, Rube Goldberg to Glenn Seaborg.

The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949-1967 by Clark Kerr (378.794 KERR) (not at Montclair) – The autobiography of Cal’s first chancellor (and later the president of the UC system). His tenure included the Free Speech Movement protests of the 1960s, which ultimately led to his firing (because the UC Regents felt he wasn’t tough enough on the protestors).

Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power (378.1981 ROSENFELD) – Berkeley wouldn’t be what it is today without its history of radical thinking and protest. Pair Kerr’s memoir with this report on the FBI’s covert attempts to suppress the student movement at Berkeley in the 1960s, from Mario Savio standing on a police car in Sproul Plaza to People’s Park showdowns with the National Guard.

Golden Bears: A Celebration of Cal Football’s Triumphs, Heartbreaks, Last-Second Miracles, Legendary Blunders and the Extraordinary People Who Made It All Possible by Ron Fimrite (796.33263 FIMRITE 2012) (not at Montclair) – “Golden Bears is more than just a history of football at the University of California at Berkeley. It also traces the political, cultural and economic factors that have made the nation’s most prestigious public university as well known for its activism as its academics.” (Google Books)

Fiat Lux: The University of California by Ansel Adams (OAK HIST 378.794 Ad17f Oversize – ask at desk) (not at Montclair) – Photographs of UC campuses by the renowned photographer, taken in the late 1960s to celebrate the university system’s centennial.

Berkeley! A Literary Tribute edited by Danielle La France (810.8 BERKELEY) (not at Montclair) – Excerpts from authors and poets writing about Berkeley, including Simone de Beauvoir, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Thomas Pynchon, Bobby Seale, Ishmael Reed, Robert Hass, Philip K. Dick, Maxine Hong Kingston and more.

John Galen Howard and the University of California: The Design of a Great Public University Campus by Sally B. Woodbridge (727.3092 HOWARD) (not at Montclair) – An architectural historian looks at the career of the man who was Cal’s chief architect from 1901 to 1924, orchestrating the campus’s layout and designing many of its classically-inspired Beaux Arts buildings.

Berkeley Inside/Out: A Guide to Restaurants, Entertainment, People and Politics by Don Pitcher (917.9467 PITCHER) (not at Montclair) – Published in 1989, this would make a terribly-outdated guidebook. But it is a fascinating introduction — packed with juicy tidbits and wacky asides — to some of the people and things that made Berkeley (both the city and the university, since it’s sometimes hard to separate town from gown) Berkeley. (If you like this book, you’ll also enjoy Quirky Berkeley by Tom Dalzell, and the website of the same name.)

Hidden Walks in the East Bay & Marin: Pathways, Essays, & Yesterdays by Stephen Altschuler (917.946 ALTSCHULE) (not at Montclair) – It’s available at the library, but do yourself a favor and just go buy a copy of this book, which guides you to hidden stairways and secret paths around Berkeley (including several walks on and around the campus) and beyond – offering fascinating views of Oakland and Berkeley that you might not see otherwise (and a good workout!).


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