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Essential reading for understanding the western half of our country. Read the first 5 Chapters, the last section, and skim the rest. From the last section:California is "a large province on the west coast, ..., possessed of a most exceptional environment ..., with a most unique historical background, gets a head start of two decades over the other western states in its development ... and develops at an entirely different tempo from its sister states of the West. .. Selective forces at work in t...
I'm really not sure what year I read this but I found the newsman's ideas about California and its many ways of being exceptional was easy to read and thought provoking. The main idea I took away was the peculiar way that gold mining in the first years took no vast capital expenditure so many independent placers, the forty-niners, were an important part of early US owned California history. I've recently be amazed to learn the history about no slavery in CA back then. Slave owners dreamed of bri...
Essential for understanding California's strange evolution as a state — in particular, its water laws (and by extension those of the west), it's industrial agriculture, its plutocratic politics, its feuding cities and its labor squabbles. McWilliams love for the state, and his fascination with its history and its people shines through on every page. Even when he's knee deep poring through import/export data that's long since ceased to be relevant, you don't dare skip a chapter. Required reading
Oddly prescient view of California's relationship with the West, the United States and the world and the troubles it would face in the second half of the twentieth century. An engaging glimpse into those aspects of its history, development and "climate" that make it exceptional and, yet, oddly representative of this young nation as a whole.
Reveals the true history of California, stripped of all the glamor and glitz