California: A History

California: A History

by Kevin Starr
4.3 12

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Overview

California: A History by Kevin Starr

California has always been our Shangri-la–the promised land of countless pilgrims in search of the American Dream. Now the Golden State’s premier historian, Kevin Starr, distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, this is the story of a place at once quintessentially American and utterly unique.

Arguing that America’s most populous state has always been blessed with both spectacular natural beauty and astonishing human diversity, Starr unfolds a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph.

For generations, California’s native peoples basked in the abundance of a climate and topography eminently suited to human habitation. By the time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, there were scores of autonomous tribes were thriving in the region. Though conquest was rapid, nearly two centuries passed before Spain exerted control over upper California through the chain of missions that stand to this day.

The discovery of gold in January 1848 changed everything. With population increasing exponentially as get-rich-quick dreamers converged from all over the world, California reinvented itself overnight. Starr deftly traces the successive waves of innovation and calamity that have broken over the state since then–the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons and the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the heroic irrigation and transportation projects that have altered the face of the region; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace.

Kevin Starr has devoted his career to the history of his beloved state, but he has never lost his sense of wonder over California’s sheer abundance and peerless variety. This one-volume distillation of a lifetime’s work gathers together everything that is most important, most fascinating, and most revealing about our greatest state.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307430755
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Series: Modern Library Chronicles
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 320,584
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

From 1994 to 2004 Kevin Starr served as State Librarian for California. He now teaches at the University of Southern California. His writings have earned him the National Medal of the Arts, the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and election to the Society of American Historians.


From the Hardcover edition.

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California: A History 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for an unbiased, yes unbiased history of the state. It takes you from the Miwoks to the bullet train in one fast moving narrative. Like the view from the Wawona tunnel, one gets the whole picture at once, leaving a desire to then investigate the details. Well done!
Buffalojim More than 1 year ago
I learned a lot about California that I had never heard or read before. What a wonderful read into what California had to offer and the people who were here when the Spaniards owned it, when Mexico owned it, and when the Americans took it. It is a geographically magnificent state with a diverse population and Kevin Starr has encapsulated its history in a 344 page book that moves fast yet covers almost everything that was and is meaningful in the development of a state. Should be mandatory reading for every Californian going to school or attempting to vote.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh, sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
California
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prowess is coming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THE BOOK IS AWESOME
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ima go see if Mr. Ferryman is still there...*she walks off.*