The Good Life: Sacramento’s Consumer Culture

Steven M. Avella

Arcadia, publisher of coffee-table books of historic photos, has stepped beyond “neighborhood history” with this new volume from Marquette University history professor Steven M. Avella. Avella examines the process by which Sac became a city of consumers—the town where you can’t live without a car—and turned our manufacturing roots into mass consumption. In addition to wonderful historic photographs, Avella shows how Sacramento moved seamlessly from production to consumption, and although he doesn’t question the wisdom of that shift, he offers us a glimpse into why our forefathers made the decisions they did, all in the name of “progress.” The evolution of landmarks like Town & Country Village and Arden Fair mall is fascinating, as is the sense of our city as an organism entering a new phase of life.