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Southern California: An Island on the Land Paperback – March 15, 1980
"Moon Kaua'i" by Kevin Whitton
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From the Back Cover
Widely recognized as the best non-fiction book written about Southern California for the period 1920s through the 1940s.
Southern California: An Island on the Land is packed with fascinating material on the region and its galaxy of personalities--from Helen Hunt Jackson to Aimee Semple McPherson, from Huntington the financier to Hatfield the rainmaker.
Carey McWilliams provides insights into many subjects, ranging from the origins of Hollywood to the flowering of International Style architecture in Los Angeles.
This book was originally published in 1946. This reprint edition has been continuously in print from Gibbs Smith, Publisher since 1973.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
If years before I wrote Southern California: An Island on the Land, I had planned to write it, then it could be said that I picked exactly the right time to settle in the region, that my work experience was providential, and that I selected precisely the right group of friends. But of course I did not plan to write the book; it grew out of my experiences in a perfectly natural way. Let me explain.
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Top Customer Reviews
The colonizers, the boosters, the flamboyant pillars of society who bamboozled, bulldozed, and boutiqued their way into California: they and other characters appear on the McWilliams stage in a fascinating--and at times disturbing--progression in which the land itself, that most neglected of characters, puts in appearances too. For we Southern Californians live in a land of constant paradoxes; to quote the author ("The Land of Upside Down"):
"To their amazement"--he means tourists--"they discovered that umbrellas were useless against the drenching rains of Southern California but that they made good shade in the summer; that many of the beautifully colored flowers had no scent; that fruit ripened earlier in the northern than in the southern part of the state; that it was hot in the morning and cool at noon...here, in this paradoxical land, rats lived in the trees and squirrels had their homes in the ground." No wonder we're all a bit topsy-turvy out here.
My one objection: I disagree with the author's description of the early Missions as "concentration camps." That through disease and, later, a mis-education that left the Native converts vulnerable to ranchero exploitation and settler genocide is beyond question; but however misguided their efforts, those early padres had no conscious agenda of wiping out a people.Read more ›
Unlike most historians, McWilliams also made history by serving in state government, arguing against the Japanese internment during World War II, and defending the rights of workers, minorities, and the unjustly accused--frequently in high-profile cases such as the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial and the Hollywood 10. In one critical area after another, McWilliams mapped the social and political territory, raised the main issues, distilled the key facts, and proposed the most practical remedies. He's probably the most versatile American public intellectual of the 20th century, and *Southern California* is one of his masterpieces. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even tho this was published many years ago, the information on early CA history is told in a way that seems relevant today. Read morePublished 3 months ago by margaret j mistler
Not only a great historical account of the short but dynamic history of Los Angeles and the Southland, but also remarkable for delving into the sociological elements about the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Breaking Brad
I was in Pershing Square, in downtown Los Angeles, California. There was poetry inscribed on a wall, and I did a search and found that it is an except, by Carey McWilliams, in his... Read morePublished 7 months ago by kkrome25
An okay history of the State of California providing essentials of changes in the state. Otherwise not written so as to make reading a pleasure instead of a pursuit.Published 12 months ago by Phillip Skaga
I have been wanting to read this book for years and I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks for the flawless service in it's delivery!Published 22 months ago by Mark Cunningham
OK, well maybe that's an overstatement, but for a book written in the 1940s, this book is still remarkably relevant. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Coco
Bought this book for a sister of mine working on geology. Born and raised in southern Californian thought it
Was a great starting placer
Excellently researched history of Los Angeles. It reveals all the water war issues and what keeps the sprinklers going in Los Angeles.Published on November 22, 2013 by bleusdolphins