From Publishers Weekly
Long before the Beach Boys, there was the "California Dream," and New England-born Larkin was among the first to pursue it. In 1832, as a young man without a formal education, Larkin traveled to desolate Mexican California in search of his fortune. First as a merchant in Monterey and later as a land speculator who worked largely in booming San Francisco, he became extremely wealthy before his death in 1858. Depicted as a patriot and "gentle imperialist" in this tedious bigoraphy that lacks analysis and color, Larkin served as U.S. consul and secret agent during the ticklish Americanization process in 1846-1847. Hague and Langum are the authors of, respectively, Road to California and Law and Community on the Mexican California Frontier.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"Prodigiously researched, well written, and nicely illustrated, this study is a significant addition to the history of California and to the story of the antebellum expansionist impulse." - Journal of American History
". . . an incisive portrayal of the man and his era. . . . a rich storyline with ample illustrations of one of California's earliest migrants. Thomas O. Larkin
is an excellent biography, useful reference and necessary addition to the libraries of those interested in California's formative years before statehood." - The Californians
"This is a fascinating book about Thomas O. Larkin, a fascinating man . . . We are much indebted to the authors for their explication of how to make one's interests correspond with one's principles and win fame and fortune in the process." - American Historical Review
Recipient of the Caroline Bancroft History Prize
. . . a definitive biography . . . This book was eminently satisfying to read. Well-documented and at times moving, it offers amply evidence of the careful and exacting scholarship that has distinguished the previous works of both authors. - Journal of the Early Republic
"Given Larkin's historical importance, it is surprising that this is the first adequate biography, but it is well worth the wait. Hague and Langum have thoroughly exploited the massive Larkin papers to cast a bright light for the first time on an important figure in an important period of western history." - Utah Historical Quarterly
". . . The authors chronicle a complex man, who found both patriotism and profit in one of the first quests of the 'California Dream'. All those elements, plus the curiosities uncovered by excellent research, make for a valuable and enticing historical biography." - The Book Reader