- Publisher: Valley Publishers (1967)
- ASIN: B001TZZXV6
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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California Dons: Recollections of Life on a California Rancho Over a Century Ago Hardcover – 1967
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Top Customer Reviews
California Dons comes close to filling the bill. It's based on the recollections of a person who grew up on a rancho in San Juan Bautista in the mid-19th century. Technically, California was a state by this time, but large swaths of California were still culturally spanish and mexican for years afterwards.
The story does shed some light on what it was like on a rancho of that period, providing details of the layout and workings of homes and ranchos. You do get a feel for the way horsemanship was a highly valued skill and the importance of family in the community. Unfortunately, the story is told in a rather stilted and disjointed manner, as if a series of anecdotes were simply strung together. As a result, there really isn't much of a story. For example, between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, the important event of the death of the main character's father occurs. You would think this event would merit some mention.
The casual violence and cruelty seems rather surprising when viewed from the 21st century, but it does lend an air of exoticism, making it clear that was a very different time.
My search for a good history book, fiction or otherwise, about the California rancho period goes on.