Herbert Asbury, author of The Gangs of New York and The Gangs of Chicago, turns his attention to chronicle the seedy underworld of San Francisco, from its gold-rush glories to its subterranean opium dens. Houses of ill repute play host to shanghaied sailors, and the Chinese tong wars rage around the city. San Francisco's historic past is here brought to life in all its scintillating and infamous glory.
Herbert Asbury was born into a strictly Methodist family in Missouri in 1889. His pious background and his subsequent rejection of Methodism greatly influenced both his philosophy of life and his career as reporter and author. Indeed, many of his books deal with the darker, seamier side of American life. He died in 1963 of chronic lung problems, the legacy of a gas-attack in France during the first World War.