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What explains California? To a large extent, as Philip Fradkin's rich, exuberant portrait makes clear, it's the multiple landscapes and the different states of mind that best define America's most populous, diverse, and fabled state. Fradkin divides California into seven distinct ecological and cultural provinces—from the hot deserts and high peaks to the rich agricultural Central Valley, the redwood forests of the north and sandy beaches of the south. Describing geographical regions based on their emblematic landscape features, Fradkin intertwines natural and social history.
The author divides California into seven distinct ecological provinces, selecting from each one a feature upon which to hang a series of linked stories about characters as dissimilar as Native Americans and ranchers, politicians and railroad builders, Chinese laborers and Hollywood celebrities. Photos.