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Up and Down California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer, Fourth Edition, with Maps Paperback – February 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0520238657 ISBN-10: 0520238656 Edition: Fourth Edition, With Maps

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 628 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Fourth Edition, With Maps edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520238656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520238657
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like a trip in a time machine--intimate, vivid, and full of adventure and discoveries."--Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle -- Review

From the Inside Flap

"By 1864 no one knew California better than Brewer. Contemporary readers can once again feel the thrill of being with him as he saw California for the first time and found a place truly commensurate with his capacity for wonder."—Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California

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Customer Reviews

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A wonderful book to read and ponder over.
E. Clarke
I know California very well, and as I read along, I could picture nearly every place Brewer described in my mind's eye because I had been at those places myself.
Kurt Harding
I have seen California grow a lot in the last 60 years, and this adds to that perspective!
mkh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on November 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book last summer in Lee Vining CA while on a trip through the Eastern Sierra and after reading it found myself looking at California with new eyes.

One reviewer said that even those who are not Californians will enjoy this book. True enough, but I think that the reader who has a detailed knowledge of the geography of the state will come away from Up And Down California In 1860-1864 with a much greater appreciation for Brewer's accomplishments. I know California very well, and as I read along, I could picture nearly every place Brewer described in my mind's eye because I had been at those places myself.

This book is a riveting and thoroughly absorbing glimpse of the California that was. Brewer's style is informative, entertaining, and not bogged down by political correctness. He calls things as he sees them and gives the reader not only a physical description of his journeys with all their pleasures and hardships, but also a good look at the way people lived and rubbed along with one another in what was then a brave new world. His journeys covered most of the state save the Mojave/Colorado deserts, the San Diego area, the extreme Northeast, and the area between what is now Healdsburg and Eureka. Some of the places he does go are remote still today, such as the area of the New Idria mines in present San Benito County and the still wild Southern Sierra along the upper reaches of the Kern River.

I recommend Brewer's journal to all who have an abiding love for the diverse state that is California. After reading it, you will see the state with new eyes every time you take a road trip along its byways.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Adam on October 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, and have started giving copies as gifts. The synopsis explains well what it is, so I won't go into that. But the style is both easy and intelligent, an easy yet rewarding read. Brewer's writing sounds like you're sitting down to a cup of coffee with this guy as he tells you these great stories (not 'tall tales' though.)

I also loved the format, since it is a collection of letters. It allowed me to pick up the book and read 1 page or 20 pages depending on how much time I had, where I was etc. It's Ok to put it down for a week or more, but then you can jump right back in.

It is a 'long' book, but there's no compulsion to read it straight through, you can meander through this book over days, weeks or months, or 'real-time' in years even, that's how his family and friends experienced it.

If you live anywhere in California where Brewer went, or if you've visited there, it is fascinating to hear his descriptions of the places from 150 years before.

I can't rave enough about this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Clarke on April 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Through the letters sent to his brother on the east coast, William Brewer leaves behind a first person account of an emerging state. From traveling through Los Angeles in 1860 describing it as a town of 3500 people in adobe homes, to the high Sierra scrambles through a vast wilderness he gives the reader a glimpse into a California long forgotten. A wonderful book to read and ponder over.
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Format: Paperback
Many renowned heroic trailblazers of California's trans Sierra passages were documented in the 30 minute PBS documentary. The highlight for me were short passages read from Brewer's book.

Apparently the book was chosen for that program because it is widely considered an informative classic and joy to read. So, if you like the book you will be in great company.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brewer's letters back home give us a chance to see, through his eyes, what California was like in the 1860's.
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This book is an excellent read for those of us who love history and live in California. Kids would learn to love history if this book was one of their text books
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By XCrement on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Journal Writing on par with Merriwether Lewis, Mabey even better. CA Climbers,s USGS nerds, or just a California history buffs could do much worse than to read Up and Down.
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By mkh on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book upon recommendation of a friend, and found it absolutely fascinating. As a native Californian that knows the state very well, this book gave me insight in what it was like before 45 million people lived here! Many of the place names are still in use - but now the places are covered with highways, homes, and shopping centers! I have seen California grow a lot in the last 60 years, and this adds to that perspective! While there are a few spots yet in California that would look the same to Brewer today as they did in the 1860's, he would be shocked at what has happened. I especially liked some of his opinions about Los Angeles and the Central Valley!
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