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Perpetual sunshine, palm trees, miles of unbroken beaches, yachts, cliff-top mansions, millionairesthese are the images of Orange County that come to mind for many people, and there is much truth in this depiction, for Orange County is a place of boundless natural wonders that attracts more than 25 million tourists a year. However, the full story of Orange County is far more complex. It’s a story of Juañeno Indians, conquistadors, Franciscan padres, rancheros, wildcatters, artists, and filmmakers. Historic Photos of Orange County offers some 200 images drawn from the county’s fascinating past, from the mission ruins of San Juan Capistrano, to the turn-of-the-century celery fields of Westminster, to the eye-popping fantasia of a young Disneyland. By East Coast standards, Orange County is a relative babyjust over a century oldand tiny compared with most California counties; but its population is second only to neighboring Los Angeles County and growing every day. This volume captures the story of Orange County’s evolution from a sleepy backwater suburb of Los Angeles to an international tourist destination.
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We expect coffee-table books to make us feel and look good by displaying them. Accordingly, this one will not disappoint. But have you ever started one and not stopped reading until you finished? I hadn't until now.
Ms. Stone's straightforward yet engaging prose is deceptively complex in weaving an historical tapestry integrating the iconography of the selected pictures. Readers may not even notice that Ms. Stone quietly leads us through far-reaching context, perspective and insight, which transcend the commonality of this genre.
In this book, Ms. Stone proves an historian's historian because, counter to our educational system, she shows us that history is about the meaning of what happened, not rote repetition of names, dates and events. Almost subliminally, Ms. Stone masterfully works in teasers that keep readers turning pages to see and learn more.
For students of black-and-white photography, flipping through this beauty will be shocking. While most historic-photo books are a front-to-back muddle of middle gray, the publisher and printer of "Historic Photos of Orange County" provide us with a full range of artistic contrast (Picker's Zone I through Zone IX).
Finally! Here's a décor-enhancing tome that is more substance than window-dressing. You might just enjoy it more by reading it than showing it off.