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Napa at Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity
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Published:
Simon & Schuster 2018
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Description
The New York Times bestselling author of Napa tells the captivating story of how the Napa Valley region transformed into an extraordinary engine of commerce, glamour, and an outsized version of the American dream—and how it could be lost—in "a strong plea for responsible stewardship of the land" (Kirkus Reviews).
Not so long ago, wine was an exclusively European product. Now it is thoroughly American; emblematic of Napa Valley, an area idealized as the epicenter of great wines and foods and a cultural tourist destination. But James Conaway's candid book tells the other side of the romanticized story.

Napa at Last Light reveals the often shadowy side of the latter days of Napa Valley—marked by complex personal relationships, immense profits, passionate beliefs, and sometimes desperate struggles to prevail. In the balance hang fortunes and personal relationships made through hard work and manipulation of laws, people, and institutions. Napans who grew up trusting in the beneficence of the "vintner" class now confront the multinational corporations who have stealthily subsumed the old family landmarks and abandoned the once glorious conviction that agriculture is the best use of the land.

Hailed as the definitive Napa writer, Conaway has spent decades covering the region. Napa at Last Light showcases the greed, enviable profits, legacy, and tradition that still collide in this compelling story. The area is still full of dreamers, but of opposing sorts: those longing for a harmonious society based upon the vine, and self-styled overlords yearning for wealth and the special acclaim only fine wine can bring. Bets are still out on what the future holds. "This is a stunning and sad look at how an idyllic community became a victim of its own success...fascinating and well-researched" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/06/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781501128479
ASIN:
B074ZKRGRP
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

James Conaway. (2018). Napa at Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

James Conaway. 2018. Napa At Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

James Conaway, Napa At Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity. Simon & Schuster, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

James Conaway. Napa At Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity. Simon & Schuster, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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      • bioText: James Conaway is a former Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University, and the author of thirteen books, including Napa at Last Light and the New York Times bestseller, Napa: The Story of an American Eden. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper's, The New Republic, Gourmet, Smithsonian, and National Geographic Traveler. He divides his time between Washington, DC, and California.
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title
Napa at Last Light
fullDescription
The New York Times bestselling author of Napa tells the captivating story of how the Napa Valley region transformed into an extraordinary engine of commerce, glamour, and an outsized version of the American dream—and how it could be lost—in "a strong plea for responsible stewardship of the land" (Kirkus Reviews).
Not so long ago, wine was an exclusively European product. Now it is thoroughly American; emblematic of Napa Valley, an area idealized as the epicenter of great wines and foods and a cultural tourist destination. But James Conaway's candid book tells the other side of the romanticized story.

Napa at Last Light reveals the often shadowy side of the latter days of Napa Valley—marked by complex personal relationships, immense profits, passionate beliefs, and sometimes desperate struggles to prevail. In the balance hang fortunes and personal relationships made through hard work and manipulation of laws, people, and institutions. Napans who grew up trusting in the beneficence of the "vintner" class now confront the multinational corporations who have stealthily subsumed the old family landmarks and abandoned the once glorious conviction that agriculture is the best use of the land.

Hailed as the definitive Napa writer, Conaway has spent decades covering the region. Napa at Last Light showcases the greed, enviable profits, legacy, and tradition that still collide in this compelling story. The area is still full of dreamers, but of opposing sorts: those longing for a harmonious society based upon the vine, and self-styled overlords yearning for wealth and the special acclaim only fine wine can bring. Bets are still out on what the future holds. "This is a stunning and sad look at how an idyllic community became a victim of its own success...fascinating and well-researched" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 30, 2017
        In this fascinating and well-researched book, Conaway delivers an unpleasant portrait of California’s Napa Valley in the 21st century. Conaway knows his subject well, having written two previous narratives chronicling the valley’s metamorphosis over the decades (including Napa: The Story of an American Eden). Several sections of the book explore “specific struggles similar to those all over the country but heightened by Napa’s fame and outsized concentrations of wealth and notoriety.” The 1960s through the ’80s were a golden age for Napa. Newcomers filled with idealism flocked to the valley wanting to learn the art of wine making, all the while respecting sound conservation principles. But once big money arrived, personal bonds among the community members began disintegrating and land-zoning and water-use issues divided Napa residents. Once a mainly mixed-agriculture region that also happened to produce wine, Napa morphed into an oenophile Disneyland, according to Conaway, where new-millionaire winemakers have little regard for the natural environment or quality of life for longtime valley residents. This is a stunning and sad look at how an idyllic community (which has recently been ravaged by fire) became a victim of its own success.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 15, 2017
        In the third volume of his trilogy about Napa, California, Conaway (Nose, 2013, etc.) continues his investigation of the consequences of the wine industry on the region's culture and environment.Both, argues the author persuasively, suffer at the hands of greedy winemakers, huge corporations, and the desire of merchants to attract more and more tourists. As in his past books, this one is filled with detailed--and sometimes overly detailed--sketches of a large cast of characters. Conaway profiles more than 60 individuals who, in one way or another, affect Napa's life and fortunes. These include winery founders, vintners ("mostly an ornamental title nowadays"), growers (a dwindling number), inheritors, and the handful of determined citizens working hard to defend the ecology and integrity of the land they love. The author notes that nearly half of the population of Napa Valley lives at or below the poverty line; housing is "prohibitively expensive, the roads crowded, cancer rates high, and the glaring disparity between incomes growing." But his focus here is not on economic or health problems but rather on environmental damage when agricultural production is impeded by marketing, when wineries are converted "into retail shops, conference pods, and de facto restaurants." Wineries, he writes, have become "self-interested fiefdoms" overseen by astoundingly wealthy vineyard owners, too often international corporations. Some vintners have no knowledge of grape-growing and little interest in the actual work of farming. Many, Conaway writes, "are caught up in what amounts to a parody of viticulture, elaborate dramas of money and celebrity far removed from the dust from which hope springs eternal." One man, seeking "self-realization" as a vintner, confessed that he wanted to make "a difference to people and their experiences," which, Conaway says scornfully, "is what real estate development and tourism are all about, not agriculture." The author ends on a "guardedly optimistic" note, citing citizens' successes in holding back development and exploitation.A strong plea for responsible stewardship of the land.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2018

        Fine wines, a wondrous setting, infighting among the locals over development and conservation--Napa may be America's Eden, but there are serpents in the garden. Author Conaway (The Far Side of Eden) returns to writing about the hidden side of the California region famous for its vintages, pulling back the curtain on a series of interconnected commercial maneuvers and accompanying disputes. As the book progresses, the tangled interrelations among the various players becomes all the more fascinating. No one person is truly the hero of this work. Indeed, Conaway skillfully shows that the many people involved are each deeply complex. For those who see Napa as an idyllic destination, the book may prove unsettling. Still, it is an excellent look into competing ventures at play in an area rich in history and rooted in one particular industry. VERDICT Vivid storytelling by an author who knows the Napa Valley geography and people well. Recommended for a range of collections, not just where books on wine are popular.--Peter Hepburn, Coll. of the Canyons Lib., Santa Clarita, CA

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The New York Times bestselling author of Napa tells the captivating story of how the Napa Valley region transformed into an extraordinary engine of commerce, glamour, and an outsized version of the American dream—and how it could be lost—in "a strong plea for responsible stewardship of the land" (Kirkus Reviews).
Not so long ago, wine was an exclusively European product. Now it is thoroughly American; emblematic of Napa Valley, an area idealized as the epicenter of great wines and foods and a cultural tourist destination. But James Conaway's candid book tells the other side of the romanticized story.

Napa at Last Light reveals the often shadowy side of the latter days of Napa Valley—marked by complex personal relationships, immense profits, passionate beliefs, and sometimes desperate struggles to prevail. In the balance hang fortunes and personal relationships made through hard work and manipulation of laws, people,...
sortTitle
Napa at Last Light Americas Eden in an Age of Calamity
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America's Eden in an Age of Calamity
publisher
Simon & Schuster
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