Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915by Kevin Starr
Written by a native San Franciscan who combines a moving and expressive style with the objective eye of the scholar, Professor Starr's chronicle will appeal to all those who relish American history set forth in vivid detail and enriched with insight.
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This is not a history. It is about some of the people who lived during these times and their philosophy. For instance, Starr completely leaves out the development of the trans continental railroad. Starr's style makes this a hard read.