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California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names, Fourth edition Hardcover – August 20, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Western history buffs will enjoy this sizable guide to California place-names . . . . An up-to-date, authoritative, and interesting book." -- The Bloomsbury Review

About the Author

Erwin G. Gudde, at his death in 1969, was an emeritus member of the University of California faculty. William Bright is Professor Adjoint in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and author of numerous books including A Coyote Reader (California, 1993). He supplied a new foreword plus maps and itinerary for the Fourth Edition of Up and Down in California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer (California, 2003).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 460 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Fourth Edition, Revised and enlarged by William Bright edition (August 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520213165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520213166
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,129,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you live in the Bay Area, you've probably driven past Los Banos at some point and thought about the fact that "baños" can refer both to bathrooms and baths themselves. You probably wondered if there were actually baths there at some point.

And that's where this book comes in: if you wonder where something got its name, you look it up. Some of them may surprise you. Learning why and how things were named actually teaches you a lot about California history, so this is a good book for that curious 11-year-old in your life.

It's no trivial guide, though: it has ample information and hefty research, but it's also lovingly detailed, too (I love the entry on the way the Yuba River's parts used to be named).

You could spend hours looking things up. I did, and so has everyone else I've given this book to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By drewyer05 on August 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ran across this book many years ago when I was in college. Always regretted that I did not purchase a copy then. I have been looking for a used edition ever since coming back to California several years ago. Talking to a used book dealer, I couldn't even recall the title; but he managed to track down the author and title for me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Erwin G. Gudde's classic: CALIFORNIA PLACE NAMES: THE ORIGIN AND ETYMOLOGY OF CURRENT GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES was issued in a Fourth Edition in 1998. For anyone interested in the background and origin of the names of California towns, cities, mountains and rivers [and every other geographical feature]THIS IS DEFINITELY THE BOOK!! A fantastic resource for the individual seeking a treasure trove of information regarding California's rich history. Well worth the price! Very pleased with my purchase!!
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Format: Hardcover
This book has some interesting information on how some places in California got their names. A lot of people are aware that many of the cities in California are named after Saints beginning with San or Santa. Some of the interesting information that is included in this book is as follows: Carmel is named after the name of Mount Carmel near Jerusalem. As far as Buellton is concerned, it was named for Rufus Buell, a native of Vermont who settled there in 1874. Anaheim is coined from Santa Ana, the name of the river plus the German Heim "home." Avalon got its town name after a legendary Elysium of King Arthur, a sort of Celtic paradise. Sacramento is the Spanish name for Holy Sacrament. Carmichael was named in 1910 by the owner of the land for himself. Visalia was named for the Visalia in Kentucky. King City is named for Charles Henry King, who laid out the town.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is valuable to my research into local history. I wish there were more
complete description of the name origins.
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By Scandia on July 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
I visit CA as often as possible and have always been curious about the origins of the names. A friend who is a CA native introduced me to this book. I don't know of anything else like it.
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