Advance Praise for Mare Island
"An eloquent literary interpretation of Mare Island, the place, its history, and its personal, social, and symbolic meaning."
“Bombing along the highway at the north edge of San Francisco Bay, as we moderns are wont to do, the turnoff to Mare Island passes in a blink, and most of us don’t think twice.
But Brooks Roddan takes the exit—and finds himself in a sprawling, ghostly monument to the American Empire. Slow down now and walk with him on this provocative meditation on power, impermanence, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
—Jay Harris, Former Publisher of Mother Jones
"The haunting images and elegiac prose simultaneously elucidate and disorient the personal and political past, present, and future of a once important, now abandoned, military site. This precious little volume’s poetic fragility encourages one to drop everything and head to Mare Island before it too disappears.”
—Jim VanBuskirk, Librarian and Author
Memoir. What would it be like to discover your very own ghost town? To stumble upon the place by accident and feel it grow more and more mysterious with every step you take? The buildings, still standing tall with their importance, abandoned, every window broken; heavy equipment in chains, rusting in plain sight; weeds taking over the premises; the feeling that everyone’s just left yesterday or theday before.
It’s this chance encounter with Mare Island, the first naval base the US opened on the Pacific Ocean, once the shipbuilding capital of the western world, home and workplace to over 50,000 people but shuttered by an act of
Congress on April Fools’ Day, 1996, that leads the writer to make up stories about what he’s seeing, and to ask himself questions about his own life that he wouldn’t have otherwise asked. Mare Island is part documentary in words and pictures of a place the writer calls, “the Stonehenge of the American empire,” and part self-portrait, an extremely personal encounter with the past, present, and a possible future.