While both books cover much of the same historical ground, detailing the influence of the Richmond Progressive Alliance in changing the politics of the city, they come at it from different angles with different writing styles, offering sometimes different perspectives on the same issues.
Refinery Town offers a hard charging look at the city, politics and progressive change, penned by an author with an outsider-journalist narrative style. (LINK: Refinery Town)
Winning Richmond is a softer, personal look at how the RPA and progressives in the community were able to break the stranglehold of Chevron on local politics and McLaughlin's emergence as a progressive city leader.
(LINK: Winning Richmond)
Winning Richmond is as much memoir as political history. McLaughlin talks at length about her upbringing, family life and events that brought her to California. She was assisted bringing the book to publication by Diana Wear of Point Richmond, an RPA member, activist and professional editor.
The book offers an abundance of details about the rise of the progressive movement offering plenty of author insights about the inner workings (and infighting) of city politics.
Since the book came out earlier this spring, most of the reports are that it generally pleases McLaughlin's progressive allies - and gives fits to her political opponents.
But regardless of political stripe, there is something for everyone in Winning Richmond.