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Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty Hardcover – October 15, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...fascinating, ... Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty, a must-read for anyone interested in Golden State history." --  Santa Barbara Independent, Sept. 2011

"...a striking true story of human ingenuity, greed, and the fallout
thereof, highly recommended."  -- Midwest Book Review, Nov. 2011

"The author's special combination of professional historical training and access to private family documents and interviews enhances his book....The book is a page-turner and the author writes so engagingly ..." - Prof. (Emeritus) A.C.W. Bethel, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, California History Action

"...well written and thoroughly researched...holds its own against ...Dynasty or Dallas.  Not only an accurate study of a complex history, but an enjoyable read.  It should not be missed."
--The Historian, Univ. of San Diego

"How it came to pass that Santa Cruz Island was spared from development is intertwined in this intriguing account of Justinian Caire and his fractious descendants. . . . The significant detailed materials that are revealed here for the first time broaden our understanding of the complexity of the untold story of Santa Cruz Island.” from the foreword by Marla Daily, president of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation

From the Inside Flap

Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island opens with Caire's early life as a San Francisco businessman and his acquisition of Santa Cruz Island, where he created a ranching kingdom based on sheep, cattle, and wine. Frederic Caire Chiles examines the business practices of the Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island companies, documenting the island's economic ups and downs and the environmental impact of ranching in those days. Above all, he looks at the family's daily life on the island from the mid-nineteenth into the twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Arthur H. Clark Company; First edition (October 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870624008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870624001
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in California in 1947, Frederic [Rick] Chiles is related to California pioneers on both sides of his family. He was educated in San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santa Barbara, and received his Ph.D. in history from UC Santa Barbara. A year-long trip to London in 1977 turned into more than three decades and Rick raised a family and was Managing Director of Positive Image Ltd., a marketing communications agency. He retired from active involvement in the agency in 2007, and began to write the history of his great-grandfather and Santa Cruz Island. It was published in 2011. Rick has just finished a history all eight of the California Channel Islands, which includes chapters on their geology and their last 12,000 years of human habitation. Entitled 'California's Channel Islands - A History', it is published by the University of Oklahoma Press in February 2015.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ConnecticutReader on November 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fred Chiles has provided us with an articulate well organized narrative of the history of Santa Cruz Island and the Justinian Caire story. He touches on the Native American Chumash population, the background of the Caire family of Briançon, Justinian's acquisition and agricultural development of the Island and the sad tale of family strife and destructive decades of bitter litigation. Marla Daly, in her forward to the book, suggests that the land stewardship of the Caire and Stanton families helped spare this spectacular landscape from the extraordinary twentieth century development that has consumed most of southern California.

About ten years ago, I had the opportunity to spend several days on Santa Cruz Island as a guest of the Nature Conservancy and several direct descendants of the Justinian Caire family. Being a native of the Northeast, California was somewhat of a foreign land. I wasn't used to the parched hills and semi-arid desert conditions of southern California. After a few days on the island, I was entranced by the daily change of the colors of the hills, the warm dry southern California summer sun, the solitude and the beauty of the island's central valley, mountain ridges and coastline. I was able to visit many of the places described throughout the book. During my time on the island, various family members and Ms. Daly gave me an overview of the Caire and Stanton custodianship of Santa Cruz Island. I picked up bits and pieces of family history surrounding what the family members referred to as "the law suit." I must admit I had a hard time keeping the litigants and their rolls in this dynastic drama in order.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J McInerney on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For any historian, understanding a familial history, particularly when the characters of discussion are no longer alive, is an incredible undertaking. Armed with as many primary documents as have survived the years, and thanks in part to consistent and precise records of information, Rick Chiles has woven together a great work of literature in this homage to his ancestors and to the pioneers who shaped the Golden State. Immediately, the reader is drawn into a vivid and immaculately specific narrative. From the introduction of the author's great grandfather, Justinian Caire, to the depiction of gold rush era San Francisco to the presentation of the Santa Cruz Island, Rick Chiles captures a time and place so clearly that the reader is immediately engaged. The amount of work and research that was involved in piecing together this timeline is obvious and the results fully preserve the detail and memory for generations to come. For the descendants of the Caire family, this book is truly a gift. For California history enthusiasts, this book is fascinating.

For those not familiar with the importance of Santa Cruz Island, let alone its geography, I will leave the more colorful description to Mr. Chiles. SCI is the largest of the Channel Islands, an archipelago stretching from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara Counties. Justinian Caire originally entered into a partnership ownership of the Island in 1869; by a series of circumstances he became the sole owner within years. However, a successful business (in San Francisco) and an incredible operation on the Island stood to become the assets for which family fights are made of, and Mr. Chiles has no qualms about opening this legal mess to the world.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Betarock on November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very interesting history of a family that struggled to become the American dream. Their "rise and fall" may just be a more accurate portrayal of the American truth. Or, for those who were able to quickly scramble to the top for a glimpse of the view, their slow and bitter decent. All in all this was a good read and makes me wonder, had the Caires been able to hold on to the Santa Cruz Island and get the business steady again; what would it be like today? I would truly like to taste some of that wine... C'est la vie. The book is well written and informative, down to the company numbers. I recommend it to anyone interested in California, San Francisco, and Santa Barbra history.
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