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Summary

Acclaimed author, historian, and Guggenheim Fellow Kevin Starr is a professor at the University of Southern California. His extensive knowledge shines through this concise, yet comprehensive, depiction of the most fascinating aspects in California's history. From its colonial beginnings through Governor Schwarzenegger's administration, the Golden State has become a uniquely American phenomenon that has enchanted people with the possibility of a better life. In so doing, it has become a uniquely American phenomenon.
©2005 Kevin Starr (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent insight into the state of California

Really enjoyed this comprehensive view of California and the elements that made it what it is today. I purchased this audio book prior to my first visit to the state and found the detail fascinating and it enriched my experience of the trip my only disappointment is that it only goes up to 2005.

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  • Theresa
  • 10-11-11

Review

Excellent book for fan of history or simply for one trying to understand how modern California became so fascinating, complex and the current struggles all the more fascinating. An excellent audio book for anyone doing a 2 day drive along the length of CA or with a 5 hour flight to CA.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Philo
  • 10-06-15

I'm finally fixing my patchy CA history

This is an amazing walk through time and space. California seemed to loll on the edge of nowhere culturally (at least by European perceptions, so this excludes a large body of native peoples with very rich lives, alongside its impossibly beautiful natural resources), and then it exploded through a series of convulsive changes into the modern world. There are probably as many views of this as viewers. My own bit of California has been a bit of all this: gorgeous and heartbreaking. This esteemed expert historian has mastered a huge mass of swirling details, and brought them into a coherent story here. This brings my California experience to a whole new level.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ninotchka
  • 17-05-12

Informative and Fun

I live in California and wanted to learn more after a recent trip through the State. I was never good with history and was uncertain if I would like this. I enjoyed the story and the narration! A good job and a fun story. I was astounded at learning how California developed its character and was happy I had chose this author. If you are interested in the subject then this is a good one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MiamiMe
  • 27-03-18

Interesting read, until it's not

I picked this book up to get a better idea of the history, people and places of importance to California's history. And while the author does a credible job of keeping a straight timeline from past to present, I would have wished he had gone into more detail about the people and personalities who helped shape those events. Moreover, it would have been nice for the author to break from the timeline every now and then to show how those people and events helped shape later day California. Overall, it isn't a bad use of time to listen to this book. And Jonathan Davis is a great narrator who does a better than average job with material that's a bit "meh" in places.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 19-04-18

Solid information

If you want a solid, listenable history of California that's neither too long nor too short, this is what you need. It covers the early history really well. Toward the end, it becomes more thematic than chronological and loses some narrative drive as a result, but it's still interesting.

The narrator is perfectly decent, and doesn't mangle the Spanish names too much.

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  • dane
  • 20-02-18

More Facts than Story

I am happy to have finished this book. On one hand because it was not a riveting narrative and the sentence by sentence of facts and notable Californians was a little numbing. But also because I thorougly enjoyed this history and those not so riveting facts will stay with me forever.

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  • Marlene
  • 07-05-17

great insight

just a really terrible history of our golden state, factual just sad that history is repeating itself just in different words and phrases used in America today like tax cuts for the rich and larger prisons for our minorities

1 of 2 people found this review helpful