A roundup of local literary events, including an upcoming talk by author Donald McPhail about his new book that examines the horrors of war.
'MILLIONAIRES CRUISE' SEQUEL RELEASED... Local author Donald McPhail has released the new travel adventure "The Guest from Johannesburg." The book is a sequel to his debut novel "The Millionaires Cruise: Sailing Toward Black Tuesday," which tells the story of 300-plus millionaires living in 1929 San Francisco who set sail on a two-month cruise unaware that everything in their comfortable lives is about to change when the stock market crashes. The sequel picks up with two young men 12,000 miles apart who unknowingly change the life of an unsuspecting executive in Honolulu. Set between the beginning of World War II and the Vietnam war, McPhail's story is a riveting examination of the horrors of war and the heroic resilience of individuals who fight for peace.
McPhail is a longtime freelance writer who spent 40 years as a marketing executive in the airline and hospitality industries. After graduating from Palo Alto High School in 1958, his career took him to multiple cities around the world. He currrently lives in Mountain View.
McPhail will be at Books Inc. in Mountain View at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 23. Books Inc. is located at 317 Castro St. For more information, go to booksinc.net.
PALO ALTO'S 'ASPARAGUS KING' ... Local author and journalist Robin Chapman's book "Historic Bay Area Visionaries," tells the story of six people from California history who made significant impacts in their communities, including Palo Alto businessman Thomas Foon Chew, a Chinese immigrant who owned and operated the third largest cannery in the nation. His story is featured at the Los Altos History Museum as part of the "Silicon Valley Eats: A Taste for Innovation" exhibit, which explores the history of innovations in the food industry that changed the diets of people all around the world.
In her book, Chapman describes how Chew's Bayside Canning Company revolutionized the food industry. After joining his father's tomato-canning operation following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Chew expanded into apricots, peaches, plums and more. He added a plant in Palo Alto's Mayfield area (the building where Fry's Electronics is now housed) and established a hot-lunch program and housing for Chinese workers who were prevented from renting elsewhere in the city. Local paper's dubbed him "The Asparagus King" for perfecting the canning of the green vegetable.
Photos of his cannery, the workers and his family, along with excerpts from book, will be on display until Sept. 8. Chapman's book is available in the gift shop. The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. For more information, go to losaltoshistory.org.