The Palace was always good copy for San Francisco; now in this history of America's first luxury hotel, it provides itself good copy for any reader with a nostalgic memory of America's past, in stage, in opera, in literature, in sensationalism -- upper crust. The Palace in its time, housed almost every celebrity of the period, who crossed the continent. It was the background for scandal and drama and romance and adventure. It stood for a period of contradictions, exaggerations, eccentricities. Even today, there is a certain glamor that the very name brings up. A book that is a sure best seller in San Francisco; a big seller the length of the Coast; and it is colorful enough to warrant wide sales elsewhere. Built by the famous Ralston, it provided his greatest memorial after his tragic end; its own great period ended on a note of drama, in the great fire of 1906. It history compasses San Francisco's rise to the magnitude of a big city; it is history and politics and biography and human interest; symbol of perhaps our most individual city. Oscar Lewis' The Big Four places him as a spokesman for the Coast.