Unlike The Proper Bostonians, this might be termed a social history rather than a dissecting of character. The city is the hero- a spectacular and a stalwart hero, while the personalities, too numerous to catalogue, are symbols of successive periods. A dramatic and unbelievable city, is fascinating San Francisco. Mrs. Altrocchi goes back to its early days, a sun-baked mud village. The Spaniards came, leaving an indelible imprint; the British, the Russians- quickly forgotten; the Mexicans and the Yankees remained. Mission and presidio and rancho made their pattern of life, and even in those days there was a largeness, an extravagance in the pattern. Then came the gold era, many levels of society, mushroom growth of a gold-mad city, the making of a state- the story is told in bits of history, of biography, but chiefly a panorama of the fashions, the arts, entertainment, a way of life with the groundwork of great fortunes. At the end of its first American city decade, San Francisco was taking form. Then came the silver era, an era of mad extravagance, an Arabian Night's dream. The magnificent gaiety of the '90's followed; and early in the new century, holocaust- and incredible revival. The tempo of society quickened again; the Panama Pacific Exposition set its seal of achievement. Then came war- and the dancing between wars- the diamond jubilee- the Golden Gate Exposition- the fantastic '40's- war- and the United Nations conference. Colorful- dramatic- good reading. There's a veterans' market here; a West Coast market; a market for regional material.