The frantic haste with which Mrs. Older presents a vast assortment of unconnected trivia is utterly distracting, and not nearly as charming as the city about which she is writing. The widow of the San Francisco Call-Bulletin editor, she knew many affairs of the city's life from the 1906 Fire to the late '50's. But her book is disorganized, and she refers to important events and figures in allusions which others may find cryptic. She skims over the inception of the motion picture industry, claiming that it was started by horse-crazy Leland Stanford's desire to learn, through photographs, whether horses lifted all four feet off the ground at once. She expatiates at length on the excellence of some of California's more prominent educational institutions. And rumor, fact, suspicion and irrelevant statistics are combined in her survey without reasonable distinction. All in all, she is an unsatisfactory historian, and her book is for inveterate gossips only.