- Series: Modern Library Chronicles (Book 23)
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (March 13, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081297753X
- ISBN-13: 978-0812977530
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 108 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) Reprint Edition
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“Kevin Starr is one of California’s greatest historians, and California: A History is an invaluable contribution to our state's record and lore.”
–Maria Shriver, First Lady of California
“From Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Donner Party to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Kevin Starr captures the fullness of California history in one sweeping and masterful narrative. Starr is not only the Golden State’s greatest living chronicler, he is also one of its greatest treasures.”
–Gregory Rodríguez, senior fellow, New America Foundation, and contributing editor, Los Angeles Times
“I am honored to recommend California: A History, this perfect distillation of Kevin Starr’s life’s work. He is California’s most devoted lover and most passionate advocate, our patron saint. He transforms an already fascinating tale and imbues it with ineffable magic and grace.”
–Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life
“There is no more knowledgeable or insightful historian of the California dream than Kevin Starr.”
“A magisterially authoritative survey of the movements–geological, political, scientific, artistic, and sociological–that have shaped California into the unique state it is today. This engrossing warts-and-all saga is told with a verve and panache that sweep the reader along.”
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
From 1994 to 2004 Kevin Starr served as State Librarian for California. He now teaches at the University of Southern California. His writings have earned him the National Medal of the Arts, the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and election to the Society of American Historians.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The story of California, from its geomorphic origins to its ranking as the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world is both dramatic and sublime. It is expansive and illustrative of histories everywhere. Decades back, I recall telling my fourth grade students that any kind of event that has happened in human history has happened in California. Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in Italy? Mount Lassen erupted here. Overthrow of the British by the colonists in the 1770s? The Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 tossed out a distant Mexican regime. The subjugation and massacre of Native Americans in the Great Plains? We have the Modoc War (in which the only Cavalry officer having risen to the rank of General was killed.) Earthquakes in Alaska or Japan? Reference shifts in our San Andreas fault and many of its cousins. Engineering feats like Egypt’s Aswan High Dam? Ours are at Shasta and Oroville – and at the Golden Gate.
Then there are the events that have occurred or industries that originated only in place like California: The titanic rail crossing of the Sierra, the birth of the motion picture industry in Hollywood, the dawn of aero space, Disney, Apple, Tesla.
I used to tell kids they could almost walk out their back door and step into some aspect California’s history or at, least find something within and hour or so from home if Mom or Dad would drive ‘em. We live in a wonderful state.
Few people have told the story of California better than former state librarian Kevin Starr. I purchased a copy of California: A History the other day having read that Mr. Starr passed away a week ago. My previous copy had somehow wandered off.
Rereading Starr’s work, I am reintroduced to the names and places – and the names that have become places – that I’ve enjoyed touring over the course of my explorations. Mr. Starr makes me want to revisit the route of the Old Spanish Trail as well as the Applegate. I want to again see Monterey’s presidio and the site of our state capitol in Benicia. I need to see the Mount Wilson observatory and find my grand dad’s resting sport at Forest Lawn. I want to shake hands with Fremont and Carson and Bidwell and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Kevin Starr’s well-told story of California makes me want to do all these things. Reading like an action/adventure novel in places, his history has proven to be both a pleasant departure from current events and a bit of an explanation of them.
Sure, if this was meant to be a comprehensive history of California, it would be 1000s of pages long; however, it does provide certain episodes, and names in California history which gives the reader a starting point to explore further after this book.
Highly recommend, especially to provide as a starting point to explore more in detail.