“A California classic . . . California, it should be remembered, was very much the wild west, having to wait until 1850 before it could force its way into statehood. so what tamed it? Mr. Starr’s answer is a combination of great men, great ideas and great projects.”—The Economist
From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, the Golden State’s premier historian distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. Kevin Starr covers it all: Spain’s conquest of the native peoples of California in the early sixteenth century and the chain of missions that helped that country exert control over the upper part of the territory; the discovery of gold in January 1848; the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons; the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace. In a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph, Starr gathers together everything that is most important, most fascinating, and most revealing about our greatest state.
Praise for California
“[A] fast-paced and wide-ranging history . . . [Starr] accomplishes the feat with skill, grace and verve.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Kevin Starr is one of california’s greatest historians, and California is an invaluable contribution to our state’s record and lore.”—MarIa ShrIver, journalist and former First Lady of California
“A breeze to read.”—San Francisco
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.
“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.” –Richard Rodríguez
“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.” –Michael York