A 284-page book packed with 90 easy-to-read stories the author, Daniel (Danny) Demers, describes as "individual vignettes" is selling like hot cakes throughout the Bay Area.
Demers has been writing, for decades, short history-related California settlers tales including many from the early 19th Century.
He definitely has an eye for a good tale; funny, sad, and rich with information related to families and their descendants from the northern California coastal towns like Jenner and Fort Ross, to settlers inland, their scandals, naughty goings-on, and many about the comings and goings of early California settlers from San Francisco to the northern lands of Sonoma and beyond. Demers can capture the correct data, dates and records, at the same time he does it without making the information bone dry, absent of humor. His funny selections and his descriptions are sensationally hilarious at times. We need this Russian River writer in our lives as much as we need to eat healthy food and drink and a decent glass of wine on a regular basis.
Demers' new book is dedicated to his four daughters whose Irish names are the prelude for what is coming inside the covers of the book: accurate historical information, written with humor and surprises including one short tale recording that Pope Leo XIII endorsed the drinking of cocaine wine.
History buffs are easily led to this book and devotees of wine and funny stories will follow them eagerly The clever writer alludes to the notion that a glass of wine caused the start of the Civil War; another about Lord Nelson; others related to "presidential wine drinking;" A King's gift; Diamond Jim Brady's stomach; a seafarer, and a lot of references to wine, and one about a funny funeral!
That Demers has the Celtic gift of the gab, and an eye for the humorous there is no doubt. He also has a sense of the ridiculous and his Irish sense of humor translates well and enriches history writings, typically dry and rarely funny; none of which is boring. Demers tracked down these tales by diligently tracing them from the Library of Congress digital newspaper archives. Demers recommends a visit to the digital archives of the Library of Congress which he says are "a virtual treasure trove of original source material."