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Coast of Dreams Paperback – February 14, 2006


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Frequently Bought Together

Coast of Dreams + Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963 (Americans and the California Dream) + Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950 (Americans and the California Dream)
Price for all three: $54.82

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 804 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679740724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740728
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Vivid, precise, and astute. . . . Starr's cultural range has always been broad and his grasp sure. Most important, he's able to put tastes and ways of life in historical context.”–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Kevin Starr is nothing short of the John Muir of our times. . . . [He] is utterly fascinated by California and how it has evolved.” –Los Angeles Times

“Starr brings his magnificent, multivolume series Americans and the California Dream, the product of a quarter-century of work up to the present. An unfailingly interesting, highly readable contribution to Starr's grand series.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Extraordinary. . . . Sweeping, deeply personal and insightful”–Tucson Gazette

About the Author

Kevin Starr is University Professor of History at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. From 1994 to 2004, he served as the state librarian for California. His writing has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and gold and silver medals from the Commonwealth Club of California. He divides his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

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Well researched and written.
william kelly
Some of the chapters on crime and gang warfare that were particularly acute in the early 90's were harrowing and difficult to read.
Derrick Peterman
The narrative style lends itself well to drawing in the reader in an engaging fashion.
W Boudville

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Peterman on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I always approach books like this with some caution. A book on the history of California from 1990-2003 is a pretty expansive subject to cover with any reasonable depth, and too often, books like this can be dense and tedious to get through. Thankfully, this was rarely the case with Coast of Dreams, which I found to be very readable, and (gasp) at times quite entertaining.

Of course at over 600 pages, it is certainly a lot to digest. And Starr can certainly discuss virtually any subject about California with a lot of detail, and he does here. And it his enthusiasm and love for the state, warts and all, that really drives this book.

Starr is completely unafraid to expose the bad side of California. Some of the chapters on crime and gang warfare that were particularly acute in the early 90's were harrowing and difficult to read. Starr has a good grasp of the unique brand of California politics, that sometimes yields rather unusual and unique results, such as the power deregulation crisis and Schwarzeneggar becoming Governor.

On the other hand, Starr clearly enjoys writing about the unqiue elements that draws so many people to the state. Whether writing about the trendy areas of San Francisco or Los Angeles, or for the seemingly mundane opportunities that draw so many illegal immigrants, Starr shows the state has historically been for dreamers large and small. Whether California can continue to sustain all these dreams is an underlying theme of the book.

As someone who came to California from the Midwest, I found the considerable time invested reading Coast of Dreams was well worth the new found connection I have to the state of California.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
So this was California, in the years 1990 to 2004. Having lived in Los Angeles during that time, I could readily relate to much of what Starr wrote, especially when he talked about this city.

A long book, but you don't have to read it at one sitting. It's well suited to you leisurely reading chapter by chapter, at your own pace. Myriad aspects of California are covered. Though, as someone else remarked, Starr says little about California north of San Francisco. The book is about events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a little bit on San Diego and the Central Valley. The narrative style lends itself well to drawing in the reader in an engaging fashion. Which bodes well in future years, when others who then read it will have been born long after all these events. The contemporaneous account given by Starr should endure as a lasting contribution to the historical record.

For Los Angeles, the early 90s get considerable play. Especially with the 1992 race riot and the 94 Northridge quake. All overlaid on a statewide recession, exacerbated by overbuilding and aerospace shrinking after the end of the Cold War.

Naturally, Starr delves into the dot com saga. Centred on Silicon Valley, "dreaming dreams of endless wealth". Of course, you can find entire books devoted to this era. But the chapter in this book suffices well to convey the strange feeling in the air, and all that money! An envious reader could speculate as to whether it might all happen again.

If you do happen to like this book, consider checking out his earlier texts. He has written a slew of these on various aspects of California history. Most with the same fluid grace of the present book. An enjoyable way to learn more about California.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Not so much a history as it is a social documentary on the events shaping California at the turn of the millennium. Kevin Starr represents a lot of different aspects of California culture and politics, how the two come together and how the two diverge, in a series of sections that more or less cover different issuesimpacting the state. The book starts out a little pell mell, but takes shape in the middle sections, especially when he gets to "Wedge Issues." Here, he talks about the various propositions that were put forward in the 90's that divided the state politically, including an attempt to literally divide the state into three states. However, what seems to prevail in this narrative is the positivism of Californians, their ability to adapt to a constantly shifting natural and social landscape. The immigration chapters explain the various contemporary patterns, the new alignments that have emerged, and how California has come to find itself more closely wed to Mexico both culturally and economically. Attempts at closing off the border have repeatedly failed, and Starr illustrates just how much immigration has helped the state, rather than hurt it, particularly in how San Diego and Tijuana have become virtually intertwined.

Hollywood takes a back seat role in this contemporary history, which surprised me, yet you always see it lurking beneath the surface, especially in his numerous references to films that most readers would be aware of. What he does focus on is how small business is the driving force in California, illustrating how Silicon and Napa Valleys rose from cottage industries into leading world conglomerates. He also talks about how California was able to retool itself following the closure of military bases and loss of defense contracts in the 90's.
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