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California has always been our Shangri-la–the promised land of countless pilgrims in search of the American Dream. Now the Golden State’s premier historian, Kevin Starr, distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, this is the story of a place at once quintessentially American and utterly unique.
Explores the latest developments relating to California's immigration, energy, environment, and transportation concerns Features concise chapters and a narrative approach along with numerous maps, photographs, and new graphic features. Includes discussion of recent - and uniquely Californian - social trends connecting Hollywood, social media, and Silicon Valley - and most recently "Silicon Beach".
Capturing the vitality of California's unique indigenous cultures, this major new introduction incorporates how California indigenous cultures lived in vibrant polities, each boasting a rich village life including chiefs, religious specialists, master craftspeople, dances, feasts, and ceremonies. Throughout, the book emphasizes how these diverse communities interacted with the state's varied landscape, enhancing its already bountiful natural resources through various practices centered around prescribed burning. A handy reference section, illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, describes the plants, animals, and minerals the California Indians used for food, basketry and cordage, medicine, and more.
Using oral histories of Concow, Pomo, and Paiute workers, taken as part of a New Deal federal works project, Bauer reveals how Native peoples have experienced and interpreted the history of the land we now call California. Combining these oral histories with creation myths and other oral traditions, he demonstrates the importance of sacred landscapes and animals and other nonhuman actors to the formation of place and identity.
Celebrating the 150th birthday of the state of California offers the opportunity to reexamine the founding of modern California, from the earliest days through the Gold Rush and up to 1870. In this four-volume series, published in association with the California Historical Society, leading scholars offer a contemporary perspective on such issues as the evolution of a distinctive California culture, the interaction between people and the natural environment, the ways in which California's development affected the United States and the world, and the legacy of cultural and ethnic diversity in the state
Winner, TopShelf Magazine Book Awards Historical Non-fiction Finalist, Northern California Book Awards General Non-Fiction Look. Smell. Taste. Judge. Crush is the 200-year story of the heady dream that wines as good as the greatest of France could be made in California. A dream dashed four times in merciless succession until it was ultimately realized in a stunning blind tasting in Paris. In that tasting, in the year of America's bicentennial, California wines took their place as the leading wines of the world. For the first time, Briscoe tells the complete and dramatic story of the ascendancy of California wine in vivid detail. He also profiles the larger story of California itself by looking at it from an entirely innovative perspective, the state seen through its singular wine history. With dramatic flair and verve, Briscoe not only recounts the history of wine and winemaking in California, he encompasses a multidimensional approach that takes into account an array of social, political, cultural, legal, and winemaking sources. Elements of this history have plot lines that seem scripted by a Sophocles, or Shakespeare. It is a fusion of wine, personal histories, cultural, and socioeconomic aspects. Crush is the story of how wine from California finally gained its global due. Briscoe recounts wine's often fickle affair with California, now several centuries old, from the first harvest and vintage, through the four overwhelming catastrophes, to its amazing triumph in Paris.
The latest CHS Book Award winner examines California's history through the prism of twelve elections that forever changed the state. Drawing from a wealth of primary sources, including new interviews conducted by the authors, each chapter explores one election (Leland Stanford's gubernatorial race, the initiative that mandated term limits, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct Bond Measure, to name a few), revealing the forces behind the choices made at the polls and the consequences that carryover to this day. The authors offer thought-provoking interpretation rooted in decades of experience in journalism, public-policy analysis, and political consulting at the state Capitol. Through their perspectives we better understand the intricate game played in Sacramento by contenders such as the bespectacled and brilliant progressive reformer Hiram Johnson, iconoclastic muckraker-turned-candidate Upton Sinclair, and Proposition 13 author Howard Jarvis, with his zealous oratory and machete approach to tax reform. By focusing on elections, the authors show that Californians' voices are as powerful and transformative as the tectonic forces beneath us.
This book reveals how powerful undercurrents of sex, gender, and culture helped shape the history of the American frontier from the 1760s to the 1850s. Looking at California under three flags -- those of Spain, Mexico, and the United States -- Hurtado resurrects daily life in the missions, at mining camps, on overland trails and sea journeys, and in San Francisco. In these settings Hurtado explores courtship, marriage, reproduction, and family life as a way to understand how men and women -- whether Native American, Anglo American, Hispanic, Chinese, or of mixed blood -- fit into or reshaped the roles and identities set by their race and gender.
Mercury and the Making of California, Andrew Johnston's multidisciplinary examination of the history and cultural landscapes of California's mercury-mining industry, raises mercury to its rightful place alongside gold and silver in the development of the American West. Gold and silver could not be refined without mercury; therefore, its production and use were vital to securing power and wealth in the West. The first industrialized mining in California, mercury mining had its own particular organization, structure, and built environments. These were formed within the Spanish Empire, subsequently transformed by British imperial ambitions, and eventually manipulated by American bankers and investors. In California mercury mining also depended on a workforce differentiated by race and ethnicity. The landscapes of work and camp and the relations among the many groups involved in the industry--Mexicans, Chileans, Spanish, English, Irish, Cornish, American, and Chinese--form a crucial chapter in the complex history of race and ethnicity in the American West. This pioneering study explicates the mutual structuring of the built environments of the mercury-mining industry and the emergence of California's ethnic communities. Combining rich documentary sources with a close examination of the existing physical landscape, Johnston explores both the detail of everyday work and life in the mines and the larger economic and social structures in which mercury mining was enmeshed, revealing the significance of mercury mining for Western history.
At the outset of World War II, California agriculture seemed to be on the cusp of change. Many Californians, reacting to the ravages of the Great Depression, called for a radical reorientation of the highly exploitative labor relations that had allowed the state to become such a productive farming frontier. But with the importation of the first braceros--"guest workers" from Mexico hired on an "emergency" basis after the United States entered the war--an even more intense struggle ensued over how agriculture would be conducted in the state. Esteemed geographer Don Mitchell argues that by delineating the need for cheap, flexible farm labor as a problem and solving it via the importation of relatively disempowered migrant workers, an alliance of growers and government actors committed the United States to an agricultural system that is, in important respects, still with us. They Saved the Crops is a theoretically rich and stylistically innovative account of grower rapaciousness, worker militancy, rampant corruption, and bureaucratic bias. Mitchell shows that growers, workers, and officials confronted a series of problems that shaped--and were shaped by--the landscape itself. For growers, the problem was finding the right kind of labor at the right price at the right time. Workers struggled for survival and attempted to win power in the face of economic exploitation and unremitting violence. Bureaucrats tried to harness political power to meet the demands of, as one put it, "the people whom we serve." Drawing on a deep well of empirical materials from archives up and down the state, Mitchell's account promises to be the definitive book about California agriculture in the turbulent decades of the mid-twentieth century.
African Americans who moved to California in hopes of finding freedom and full citizenship instead faced all-too-familiar racial segregation. As one transplant put it, "The only difference between Pasadena and Mississippi is the way they are spelled." From the beaches to streetcars to schools, the Golden State--in contrast to its reputation for tolerance--perfected many methods of controlling people of color.Lynn M. Hudson deepens our understanding of the practices that African Americans in the West deployed to dismantle Jim Crow in the quest for civil rights prior to the 1960s. Faced with institutionalized racism, black Californians used both established and improvised tactics to resist and survive the state's color line. Hudson rediscovers forgotten stories like the experimental all-black community of Allensworth, the California Ku Klux Klan's campaign of terror against African Americans, the bitter struggle to integrate public swimming pools in Pasadena and elsewhere, and segregationists' preoccupation with gender and sexuality.
The Zoot Suit Riots in 1943 and the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder trial of the preceding year represent a turning point in the cultural identity and historical experience of Mexican Americans in the United States. Although the "zoot suit" had earlier been a black youth fashion trend identified with jazz culture, by the 1940s, the zoot suit was adopted by Mexican American teenagers in wartime Los Angeles, who wore it as their unofficial "uniform" as an act of rebellion and to establish their cultural identity. For a week in June of 1943, the Zoot Suit Riots, instigated by Anglo-American servicemen and condoned by the Los Angeles police, terrorized the Mexican American community. This book traces these important historic events and their subsequent cultural and political influences on the Mexican American experience, especially the activist and reform efforts designed to prevent similar future injustices.
Most histories of the Civil War era portray the struggle over slavery as a conflict that exclusively pitted North against South, free labor against slave labor, and black against white. In Freedom's Frontier, Stacey L. Smith examines the battle over slavery as it unfolded on the multiracial Pacific Coast. Despite its antislavery constitution, California was home to a dizzying array of bound and semibound labor systems: African American slavery, American Indian indenture, Latino and Chinese contract labor, and a brutal sex traffic in bound Indian and Chinese women. Using untapped legislative and court records, Smith reconstructs the lives of California's unfree workers and documents the political and legal struggles over their destiny as the nation moved through the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Smith reveals that the state's anti-Chinese movement, forged in its struggle over unfree labor, reached eastward to transform federal Reconstruction policy and national race relations for decades to come. Throughout, she illuminates the startling ways in which the contest over slavery's fate included a western struggle that encompassed diverse labor systems and workers not easily classified as free or slave, black or white.
People of Mexican descent and Anglo Americans have lived together in the U.S. Southwest for over a hundred years, yet relations between them remain strained, as shown by recent controversies over social services for undocumented aliens in California. In this study, covering the Spanish colonial period to the present day, Martha Menchaca delves deeply into interethnic relations in Santa Paula, California, to document how the residential, social, and school segregation of Mexican-origin people became institutionalized in a representative California town. Menchaca lived in Santa Paula during the 1980s, and interviews with residents add a vivid human dimension to her book. She argues that social segregation in Santa Paula has evolved into a system of social apartness--that is, a cultural system controlled by Anglo Americans that designates the proper times and places where Mexican-origin people can socially interact with Anglos. This first historical ethnographic case study of a Mexican-origin community will be important reading across a spectrum of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, race and ethnicity, Latino studies, and American culture.
Antonio María Osio's La Historia de Alta California was the first written history of upper California during the era of Mexican rule, and this is its first complete English translation. A Mexican-Californian, government official, and the landowner of Angel Island and Point Reyes, Osio writes colorfully of life in old Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and gives a first-hand account of the political intrigues of the 1830s that led to the appointment of Juan Bautista Alvarado as governor. Osio wrote his History in 1851, conveying with immediacy and detail the years of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-1848 and the social upheaval that followed. As he witnesses California's territorial transition from Mexico to the United States, he recalls with pride the achievements of Mexican California in earlier decades and writes critically of the onset of U.S. influence and imperialism. Unable to endure life as foreigners in their home of twenty-seven years, Osio and his family left Alta California for Mexico in 1852. Osio's account predates by a quarter century the better-known reminiscences of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Juan Bautista Alvarado and the memoirs of Californios dictated to Hubert Howe Bancroft's staff in the 1870s. Editors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz have provided an accurate, complete translation of Osio's original manuscript, and their helpful introduction and notes offer further details of Osio's life and of society in Alta California.