Towers of Gold Lands on the NYT’s Essential California Reading List!

Frances Dinkelspiel’s Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, was picked by the New York Times for its California Reading List, alongside such classic titles as Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat.

Frances spent nearly a decade researching and writing about the life of her great-great-grandfather, Isaias Hellman, before publishing the book in 2008. Her first book, it became a bestseller that garnered widespread praise.

The Los Angeles Times called Towers of Gold, “Impressively researched and engagingly told.” The San Francisco Chronicle called it “A marvelous resource, a dramatic story, and a splendid read.”

Frances spent years in the archives to research Hellman’s life, pouring through more than 50,000 archival documents. The result: a groundbreaking history brings to life the early days of California, focusing on the little-known story of the Jewish contribution to the settlement of the state.

With cameos by Collis Huntington, Henry Huntington, Meyer Lehman, Edward Doheny, Edward Harriman and Levi Strauss, Towers of Gold paints a rich portrait of a pivotal financier who helped lay the groundwork for one of the world’s most dynamic economies.

We’re delighted that Towers of Gold has joined the canon of classic books on California. Watch Frances discuss her writing process and California history in this conversation for the University of California here. Congratulations, Frances!


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