In her first book, Monika tells the story of the daily dramas, the struggles for power and the political rivalries that developed in San Francisco during the antebellum years leading up to the Civil War. She then discusses the impact of the war itself on the city and its impact on its major players:

Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco
Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco:
A Western Theater for Northern & Southern Politics

“How often have I been asked, while lecturing or teaching a class on San Francisco history, about the impact of the Civil War on San Francisco and California. Historian Monika Trobits gives an extensive answer in her well-researched and insightfully written Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco . . . The complex story of California, and the experience of the rest of the country is well-told here.” – Charles A. Fracchia, Founder and President Emeritus, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, Panorama, newsletter of the SFMHS, March 2015.

To order the book or to post reviews, please visit:

Note: My publisher, The History Press recently merged with Arcadia Publishing. Their new website is:

Other Publications, Interviews and Recommendations

In August 2015, Monika was interviewed by David Perry for his local program 10 Percent. Here’s the link: This 12-minute interview aired on Comcast channel 104 throughout Northern California during the last week of September. (Note that in error, she misidentified Senator John C. Calhoun as having represented Mississippi when in fact he represented South Carolina, something Monika knows all too well.)

Monika’s article about Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man) and his years in San Francisco was published in the winter 2011 issue of The Argonaut, the journal of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. Read the article below or click here for a PDF.
Note: Monika’s Hammett article was assigned reading for a Stanford Continuing Education Class: “Golden Gate Metropolis – A History of San Francisco from 1915-present” || HIS03/Summer 2017 session.

Download the PDF file .

Click here to read Monika’s 2009 essay about Sam Brannan, one of San Francisco’s 19th century “characters.”

Below is an April 2011 interview with NBC Bay Area News about Coit Tower and San Francisco Firefighters. Monika is the first person interviewed (the other interviewee is Gladys Hansen, retired San Francisco City Archivist):


Monika’s Recommendations

Monika is often asked for book recommendations about San Francisco. Here are selected titles:

A great source for well-written guide booklets is: Monika was delighted to participate in the production of one of these publications that focuses on the Haight-Ashbury (Upper Haight) neighborhood by proofing and confirming content. This guide and pullout map is the perfect way to explore the Haight at one’s own pace. It includes useful information about local shops, cafes and restaurants and the peripheral area. All the Rufus guides are well written and well constructed. You’ll find them very useful.


The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett by Nathan Ward (2015)
Hammett’s transformation from Pinkerton Detective to a writer of detective stories occurred right here in San Francisco. Ward examines this transition in this very readable work. I’m pleased to add that my own 2011 article on Hammett (see above) is included in the bibliography.

The Beautiful Unseen: A Memoir by Kyle Boelte (2015)
A very personal story that poignantly moves between the author’s childhood memories and his family’s loss and grief over a son/brother. Gently told, incorporating historical perspectives of San Francisco, the Bay Area and its wafting fog.

Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco by Gary Kamiya (2014)
A rich and insightful portrait of San Francisco as depicted by a Bay Area native. Includes hand-drawn maps.

Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot (2012)
San Francisco from 1968 to 1982, covering events surrounding the Zodiac killer, the Zebra murder spree, the Symbionese Liberation Army and the New World Liberation Front. Talbot then discusses subsequent events: the Jim Jones/People’s Temple tragedy, the Moscone-Milk assassinations, the AIDS crisis and the role of the local media throughout the era.


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan (2013)
A clever combination of fantasy, technology, mystery and adventure set in San Francisco. (The book cover glows in the dark.)

Golden State by Michelle Richmond (2014)
The intricacies of marriage, family and work responsibilities are explored in this contemporary story set within the city of San Francisco and amidst the potential secession of the state of California.

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