Whether you're new to Sacramento or a long-time resident, a look at Steven Avella's effort is worth your time. This history of the city, from its Native American roots to its current-day challenge with affordable housing, is presented in a highly readable form; it's also laced with a number of great photos.
A large portion of Avella's research interests dwell in the early history of the Catholic Church in the American Midwest and California. In this regard, his treatment of the development of institutions of worship in the city is particularly strong. An additional strength rests in his discussion of the city's early growth in the context of disasters, both natural and manmade. Fire, flood, and famine are all integral features of the city's heritage and Avella's ability to deliver the essence of this history without burdening the reader with needless verbage is refreshing and effective.
Avella is a professor of history at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is currently working on a biography of Sacramento Bee newspaper editor C.K. McClatchy (1883-1936).