“Meticulously researched . . . a must-read for anyone interested in Serra, California, or the history of colonialism in the Americas.”
“A consummate archivist of California history, Hackel has produced a definitive Golden State biography.”
“At last, in Steven W. Hackel’s Junípero Serra, we have an intelligent and authoritative biography of the founder of California. Hackel’s engaging narrative deftly transports us to the end of the eighteenth century and the frontier of the Spanish empire. His Serra is neither sinner nor saint, but rather a devout idealist who quietly helps unleash powerful forces of social change. Junípero Serra is an essential contribution to the history of the West.”
—Héctor Tobar, author of The Barbarian Nurseries
“Junípero Serra was a man for all seasons: a saint as well as an ogre, a ‘founding father,’ an agricultural visionary, and a merciless imperialist—in short, a figure whose legacy is nothing if not polarizing. Steven W. Hackel is a courageous biographer. His portrait of the Franciscan priest who invented California doesn’t shy away from controversy: it is as evenhanded as it is humane. It proves, yet again, that this nation wasn’t built only by Puritans; it was also shaped by Spanish conquistadores, explorers, and missionaries whose choices continue to define us in countless ways.”
—Ilan Stavans, general editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature
“Steven W. Hackel’s stunning biography so fully re-creates Father Junípero Serra’s eighteenth-century life that one can almost feel the passionate certitude and searing drive that Serra employed to convert so many native Californians to Christianity and the cultural destruction and human emptiness that Serra’s success unleashed upon them after his death. Hackel’s exhaustive research quietly magnifies the measured judgments that propel this compellingly intimate yet historically expansive biography. It surpasses anything ever written about the West Coast’s most potent and controversial ‘founding father.’”
—Jon Butler, Professor of History, Yale University, and author of Becoming America
“In this rich portrait of Father Junípero Serra, we see entire worlds collide, overlap, and forever influence one another. As complex and remarkable as the times in which he lived, Serra has long deserved a careful, smart, and judicious study, and now we have it.”
—William Deverell, chair, Department of History, University of Southern California
“Steven W. Hackel’s Junípero Serra is both a compelling narrative and a comprehensive study of the complexities of Serra’s life and the transformative events of his time. A masterpiece.”
—José Refugio de la Torre Curiel, author of Twilight of the Mission Frontier
“Junípero Serra is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of California and for lovers of biography.”
—Sylvia L. Hilton, coeditor of Nexus of Empire
Steven W. Hackel is an associate professor of history at the University of California, Riverside, and the author of the award-winning Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769–1850. He also directs a project in digital history, the Early California Cultural Atlas, and is co-curator of the Huntington Library’s exhibit Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions. He lives in Pasadena, California.
Its style is fluid, clear, full of interesting details, objective and informative.
If you can do a bit of time travel while reading this book and leave your 21st century mind-set behind, you will find an enjoyable trip ahead of you.
This book was interesting to read because of the historical information on the Padre and the Missions and the Native Americans.
If you want to research the controversial aspects of Junipero Serra's life, this is not the book. Most of what the author offers is thoroughly researched, documented, sequentially... Read morePublished 2 days ago by John Thurston
Absolutely fascinating. Although Junipero Serra is not officially a Catholic saint, he is beatified, and should be very soon. Read morePublished 29 days ago by mark
Excellent full biography of major figure in CA history and native-American history.Published 1 month ago by luap
A well-researched and told story of the labor in exploring and evangelization of the native peoples by the tireless religious pioneers led by Fray Junipero Serra in claiming Alta... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ted Estrada
Junípero Serra (1713-1784 in Carmel, California), a Franciscan priest and one of the founding fathers of California (in 1769, only a couple years before The Boston Tea... Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. B. MULLIGAN
Not a history buff when it comes to just fact after fact. Not compelling enough to read beyond the first 50 pages!Published 5 months ago by OhKayohkay
I was hoping for more detail on the California missions, but the background on Serra's early life and training was interesting.Published 6 months ago by Erl Shale
This is perfect for people who want details about what really happened in California, especially with the Indians and the Spanish ... Read morePublished 10 months ago by MGDN