Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
The Romance of Balboa Park. By Florence Christman. Fourth, Revised Edition. San Diego: San Diego History Center. 1985. Photographs. Maps. Index. Bibliography. 134 Pages. $9.50 Paper.
The San Diego History Center has just published a considerably revised fourth edition of Florence Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park. The text has been updated to bring the story of Balboa Park to the present, and to correct some errors found in previous editions. The story covers the history of the park from its distant roots in Spanish policy to its immediate and real roots in 1868, on to the 1980s. Christman summarizes the early neglect of the park, the first development, the expositions, the origins of the zoo and other institutions, the park during the two world wars, fights over freeways, and many other pertinent topics. The up-to-date bibliography directs readers to more detail on some topics, should they want them. In addition to providing an introduction to the history of Balboa Park, Christman’s book also makes an excellent guide to the park. Visitors will find descriptions of many buildings and institutions, all of which can be easily located due to the new, reorganized and much improved table of contents. The most appealing aspect of the fourth edition of The Romance of Balboa Park is designer Thomas Scharf’s superb selection of old photographs and his attractive layout. Indeed, the photographs make the new edition worth buying, even if you already own a previous one.