The Barbary Coast

The Barbary Coast

An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld

Herbert Asbury

$1.99

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The history of the Barbary Coast properly begins with the gold rush to California in 1849. Owing almost entirely to the influx of gold-seekers and the horde of gamblers, thieves, harlots, politicians, and other felonious parasites who battened upon them, there arose a unique criminal district that for almost seventy years was the scene of more viciousness and depravity, but which at the same time possessed more glamour, than any other area of vice and iniquity on the American continent. The Barbary Coast is the chronicle of the birth of San Francisco. From all over the world practitioners of every vice stampeded for the blood and money of the gold fields. Gambling dens ran all day including Sundays. From noon to noon houses of prostitution offered girls of every age and race. This is the story of the banditry, opium bouts, tong wars, and corruption, from the eureka at Sutter’s Mill until the last bagnio closed its doors seventy years later.


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