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Comment: Blue cloth cover. Tight, clean, and square. Has rippled page in the middle of the book but no staining apparent. DUST JACKET has some edge wear but is largely intact. Perfect book for Jeopardy and Trivial Persuit fans, as well as CA history buffs. We mail with USPS tracking #. CA Grey Bears is a nonprofit, volunteer-operated organization that delivers bags of fresh groceries to 4,500+ seniors every wk. Sales of books help support this program. Thank you for your support! 96 kk
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California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names, Fourth edition Hardcover – August 20, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Western history buffs will enjoy this sizable guide to California place-names . . . . An up-to-date, authoritative, and interesting book." -- The Bloomsbury Review

About the Author

Erwin G. Gudde, at his death in 1969, was an emeritus member of the University of California faculty. William Bright is Professor Adjoint in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and author of numerous books including A Coyote Reader (California, 1993). He supplied a new foreword plus maps and itinerary for the Fourth Edition of Up and Down in California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer (California, 2003).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 460 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 4 edition (August 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520213165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520213166
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,337,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought the 40th Anniversary Edition of "California Place Names" because I had to find out what difference there was between it and the 4th edition. There is no difference! They are exactly the same books with the same pagination and the same copyright date of 1998 (with the same 1st paperback year of 2004). The verso information is the exact same (down to the same ISBN number) inside the two books.

The only differences are the covers: the 40th anniversary edition has the illustration of a mountain on it and the 4th Edition has the orange "old timey" map on it. As well, the 40th anniversary edition has "Revised and Expanded by William Bright" on the cover, but inside on the title page it says "Revised and Enlarged by William Bright"---which is the same wording on the 4th edition cover and title page.

With a description that states "This anniversary edition concentrates on the [blah blah blah]" it's hard not think that the publishers are trying to mislead consumers into thinking this is different in some way from the 4th edition. It is not in any way different on the inside, only the outside. I don't know if the 4th edition is being "replaced" by the 40th anniversary edition, but anyone with a 4th edition should be aware nothing has changed with this "new" edition (which is not a 5th edition as Amazon's info states).

Other than that, this a great reference book!
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Format: Paperback
Do yourself a favor and buy a nice copy of the 3d edition of 1969. It doesn't list everything, e.g. no entry for "Sinkyone," for the understandable reason that in 1969 the Sinkyone was not yet a designated wilderness area. But the wealth of historical and biographical detail is simply astonishing. Now, this edition does list the Sinkyone, but the entry itself, like most I've looked at in this book, is--well, paltry. Not even a mention of location (the Sinkyone straddles coastal Mendocino & Humboldt counties). Worse, a huge amount of entries are just left out--e.g. if you didn't have access to the Third, you'd never know that Simmons Peak is in Yosemite NP and was named after a Doctor Simmons of Sacramento. Do yourself a favor and instead of this book, buy a beer or lollipop and save the lace.

Sanford Dorbin, Chico, California
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Format: Hardcover
If you live in the Bay Area, you've probably driven past Los Banos at some point and thought about the fact that "baños" can refer both to bathrooms and baths themselves. You probably wondered if there were actually baths there at some point.

And that's where this book comes in: if you wonder where something got its name, you look it up. Some of them may surprise you. Learning why and how things were named actually teaches you a lot about California history, so this is a good book for that curious 11-year-old in your life.

It's no trivial guide, though: it has ample information and hefty research, but it's also lovingly detailed, too (I love the entry on the way the Yuba River's parts used to be named).

You could spend hours looking things up. I did, and so has everyone else I've given this book to.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has some interesting information on how some places in California got their names. A lot of people are aware that many of the cities in California are named after Saints beginning with San or Santa. Some of the interesting information that is included in this book is as follows: Carmel is named after the name of Mount Carmel near Jerusalem. As far as Buellton is concerned, it was named for Rufus Buell, a native of Vermont who settled there in 1874. Anaheim is coined from Santa Ana, the name of the river plus the German Heim "home." Avalon got its town name after a legendary Elysium of King Arthur, a sort of Celtic paradise. Sacramento is the Spanish name for Holy Sacrament. Carmichael was named in 1910 by the owner of the land for himself. Visalia was named for the Visalia in Kentucky. King City is named for Charles Henry King, who laid out the town.
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Format: Paperback
If you are interested in California place names, this is the book you need. Other books of this sort are sometimes filled with inaccuracies or local legends passed off as true etymologies. Not here. William Bright's impeccable scholarship as a place name expert and linguist, combined with the original work of Erwin Gudde, make this the source you can trust. Bright's work on place names that originated from California Indian languages is especially valuable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ran across this book many years ago when I was in college. Always regretted that I did not purchase a copy then. I have been looking for a used edition ever since coming back to California several years ago. Talking to a used book dealer, I couldn't even recall the title; but he managed to track down the author and title for me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Erwin G. Gudde's classic: CALIFORNIA PLACE NAMES: THE ORIGIN AND ETYMOLOGY OF CURRENT GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES was issued in a Fourth Edition in 1998. For anyone interested in the background and origin of the names of California towns, cities, mountains and rivers [and every other geographical feature]THIS IS DEFINITELY THE BOOK!! A fantastic resource for the individual seeking a treasure trove of information regarding California's rich history. Well worth the price! Very pleased with my purchase!!
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