California Crackup and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $26.95
  • Save: $6.11 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 18? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by RentU
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Fast shipping from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $35. Overnight, 2 day and International shipping available! Excellent Customer Service.. May not include supplements such as CD, access code or DVD.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It Paperback


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.84
$17.00 $7.87 $20.00

Frequently Bought Together

California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It + The Third House:  Lobbyists, Power, and Money in Sacramento + California Politics and Government: A Practical Approach
Price for all three: $108.01

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (August 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520266560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520266568
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Neither [Jerry] Brown or [Meg] Whitman, as they attempt to blaze a trail to the governor's mansion, have suggested anything as sweeping as the proposals in California Crackup." --Troy Senik in the Wall Street Journal

"A terrific book...that offers not only a clear diagnosis, but also a serious prescription... The clarity of their writing and the cogency of their argument put to shame the current campaign for governor."
--Calbuzz

"A compelling book." -- Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.

"One of the most cogent, freshest, and incisive diagnosis of what ails California and also has some really outside-of-the-box ideas [for] how California fixes its political problems." --Matt Miller on Left, Right, and Center.

"Theirs are certainly the best ideas for rebuilding California's government that the state has seen since -- well, probably ever." --Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect

“Both [California gubernatorial] candidates may want to read the book's diagnosis of the potentially terminal problems that one of them is certain to inherit.”
(Troy Senik Wall Street Journal 2010-08-06)

“A timely book with a lot of important things to say.”
(Newsweek 2010-08-13)

“Lucid analysis is spiked with wit and appealing turns of phrase that lift it above mere wonkery.”
(San Francisco Magazine 2010-08-01)

“Two of the shrewdest California-ologists now practicing . . . Mathews and Paul provide the best explanation we've yet had of the scope and sources of the state's governmental dysfunctionality.”
(Harold Meyerson American Prospect 2010-09-02)

“An eminently readable treatise on our state's flailing government.”
(Aaron Sankin SF Appeal 2010-08-24)

“A compelling book.”
(Michael Lewis Vanity Fair Magazine 2011-11-01)

“A smart, good read.”
(Jerry Roberts Santa Barbara Independent 2010-11-04)

“If you are interested in improving government—you should read the book . . . it reflects the spirit of innovation that was once part of the California story. This is what the campaign for governor should have been about.”
(Bill Boyarsky Truthdig 2010-10-18)

“A concise and lucid analysis.”
(Byron Williams Oakland Tribune 2010-08-25)

“Objective and at times humorous (if that’s possible) analysis of how California grew dysfunctional and what will make it functional again. This new release is getting solid reviews from critics and readers alike.”
(Jim Wood Marin Magazine 2010-09-01)

“The authors do a great job of explaining what has been done to try to control the [budget] beast and how it became a depressing example of the law of unintended consequences.”
(Royal Calkins Monterey County-Herald 2010-08-17)

“A terrific book. . . . Nice work, guys. Calbuzz sez: check it out.”
(Calbuzz 2010-08-18)

“An important new book.”
(Harold Meyerson Los Angeles Times 2010-09-26)

“This is a great book; everyone who wants to fix California needs to read it.”
(Garrett Gruener California Journal Of Politics And Policy 2011-01-01)

From the Inside Flap

"California Crackup is brilliant. It cuts through the familiar tangle of diagnoses and quick-fix solutions to provide a comprehensive and persuasive analysis of California's dysfunctional governmental system. Paul and Mathews have coolly laid out a complicated story, made it readable, sometimes even comedic. It is the best discussion of the issue I've seen in over three decades."—Peter Schrag, author of California: America's High-Stakes Experiment

"I know of no other work that combines so succinctly and enjoyably a historical summary of California's existing problems with such a sweeping and provocative program of reform."—Ethan Rarick, University of California, Berkeley

"Mark Paul and Joe Mathews have produced an indispensable guide to California's crisis of governance—and they have done so with humor, scholarship, fairness and storytelling verve. Every Californian should read this book."—Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars

"Mark Paul... has a talent for presenting California Big Think stuff in an easily accessible and always readable way...[offering] clear and creative insights on the subject of California's collapse."—CalBuzz

"Joe Mathews has done an artful, fascinating, and convincing job of connecting the California of today's Schwarzenegger era to the long history that made his rise possible.—James Fallows,The Atlantic Monthly on Mathews' book, The People's Machine

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

She thinks it's the best book about California government she has ever read, and she has read quite a few.
nighttrain
If you want to really understand what is happening in California (and how we got to this place), then this book is a perfect fit.
MattS
They've presented a detailed plan that if enacted would have a good chance of fixing California government.
Jerry Schwarz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Schwarz on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few months ago, although it seems like years, I was standing on corners soliciting signatures on a petition to have an initiative to call a California constitutional convention. My catch phrase was "help fix California's government". When people walked past (as most did of course) I would say "you know it's broken" Only one person ever said no it isn't, but many laughed because what I said was so obvious.

My explanation of what was broken was similar to the authors'. I described it as "a vicious cycle". The authors describe this as follows, "The public distrusts the legislature and their elected officials. So voters, preferring to trust themselves, make major policy decisions via ballot initiative. These decisions because of the requirement that initiatives not be changed by legislators alone, further tie the hands of lawmakers. The frustrated lawmakers find it difficult to solve pressing problems, further fueling the public frustration that produces more initiatives and more hand-tying. This vicious cycle produces anger, more budgeting at the ballot box and poor governance."

The first part of the book contains a description of how California government reached its present condition. Especially valuable is the discussion of a number of initiatives that have contributed to creating California's dysfunction. Prop 13 and prop 98 are probably the best known, but if you care about California you also should know about prop 4 (the Gann initiative), prop 4(terrm limits), prop 63 (mental health) and many others discussed in this book.

I found the description of the initiative that created the California lottery particularly instructive. Not because the initiative had a significant impact but because it perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with the process.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Bender on November 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
California Crackup is the first non-fiction work since Seabiscuit to successfully lure me away from my evening novel. It's a real-life mystery thriller that unravels the twisted skein of California's political mess in clear, fast-paced writing. Even better, the mystery has a believable solution - fixes presented are ideas proven to work in other places instead of misty, untried fantasies. It's illuminating reading not just for Californians, but for everyone who wants more responsive, effective democracy. Like sheep to the slaughter, other states are blithely heading down the same slippery slope with no clue what's in store. Neither the root causes or the solutions are obvious. One problem: there's not even the briefest map to help readers have a part in turning this plan into reality - a puzzling deficiency given the voluminous footnotes on everything else.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Martin Schwartz on July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book for anyone, Democrat, Republican or otherwise, who is interested in fixing California's dysfunctional political system. The authors take a non-partisan approach to analyzing how we got to where we are today and what needs to be done to correct matters. This is a must read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bennett on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like most Californians, I know the state is in pretty big trouble. Financially, it seems we are as unsound as any state. Still, voters pass a high speed rail initiative when there are at least four ways already to get from SF to LA and back. Similarly politicians practically cut off water to farms for alleged risk some fish no one ever heard of.

Both of these may be smart and wise decisions, but I doubt it. And they are just a glimpse of the folly of politics in this beautiful and beloved state. This book makes it clear that these kind of problems are practically by design.

California Crackup is a very detailed look with some seemingly common sense steps towards better government. I am just a citizen and don't pretend to know the solutions but this book certainly made the cause of the problems fairly evident and the solutions proposed seem like something to be considered. A recommended read for anyone that thinks everything is as it should be in California.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nighttrain on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to see a great review of this book check out the one that Emily Stoper wrote. She thinks it's the best book about California government she has ever read, and she has read quite a few.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gary Delsohn on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You have to read "California Crackup" by Joe Mathhews and Mark Paul to know how the wonderful state of California became so thoroughly broken. If a temperate climate and spectacular natural beauty were not enough, California is also a world-changer in everything from the arts to tech. But our government seems all but useless much of the time. Read this fast-paced and enetertaining little book and you'll understand why. To fix something you first need to know how it was broken. Crackup is an essential addition to our literaure about California by two outstanding journalists. Sadly, my major take away from the book is that a weakened media and an ill-informed and unrealistic public are just as much to blame for California's troubles as the people we send to Sacramento. It's true: we get the government we deserve. Excellent piece of writing, reporting and analysis, as well as fun to read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Lusvardi on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading California newspaper journalists Joe Mathews' and Mark Paul's 2010 book `California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It,' I honestly didn't know what reaction to take. Should I crackup by laughing, crack up by suffering a nervous breakdown, or take their `crack of doom' book seriously?

The theme of California Crackup is that many reforms from the Progressive Era up through the present - such as direct democracy, ballot initiatives, the supermajority requirement for taxes, and the Proposition 98 "lock-in" of 40 percent of the state budget for public schools - make the state budget inflexible, legislators unaccountable, centralizes government, and makes the state "feel ungoverned." Their solution is to "unwind" all the shackles on the budget, require ballot initiatives to live within the budget, permit the legislature to enact counter-initiatives on the ballot, repeal Propositions 13 and 98, dilute the influence of political parties by redistricting and shifting from closed to open primary elections, and create a "rainy day" fund.

The book is not what it is highly praised or `cracked up' to be. The reason the book is so highly praised is that it addresses how to "crack the code" of "cracking open" the safe of the public purse. The beneficiaries are sure to praise this book, just as proverbially robbing Peter to pay Paul would make Paul praise the thief. The reviews of the beneficiaries of the prescribed policies can be found on the back flap of the book and at Amazon.com.

`California Crackup' is so seriously flawed that neither it nor California's structural budget problems can be repaired according to the simplistic and naive prescriptions of the authors.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa78a0a74)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?