Coast of Dreams is an astonishingly rich, thoughtful, entertaining and horrifying account of one of the most mesmerising places on earth. Kevin Starr's marvellous new book allows its readers both to revel in the Californian oddness but also to see the magic that has drawn in millions of people like bodybuilder-turned actor-turned-Govenor Schwarzenegger. The success that has made California into one of the world's biggest economies and its great generator of culture and ideas has not been cost free however and the picture that emerges from Coast of Dreams is a troubled one. Contemporary Californians are caught in the middle of a period of transformation where the state struggles to understand the diversity of its people, the confusions of its values and customs and the loss of one California and the ambiguous imposition of a new and uncharted identity.
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In this extraordinary book, Kevin Starr-widely acknowledged as the premier historian of California, the scope of whose scholarship the "Atlantic Monthly has called "breathtaking"-probes the possible collapse of the California dream in the years 1990--2003. In a series of compelling chapters, "Coast of Dreams moves through a variety of topics that show the California of the last decade, when the state was sometimes stumbling, sometimes humbled, but, more often, flourishing with its usual panache.
From gang violence in Los Angeles to the spectacular rise-and equally spectacular fall-of Silicon Valley, from the Northridge earthquake to the recall of Governor Gray Davis, Starr ranges over myriad facts, anecdotes, news stories, personal impressions, and analyses to explore a time of unprecedented upheaval in California. "Coast of Dreams describes an exceptional diversity of people, cultures, and values; an economy that mirrors the economic state of the nation; a battlefield where industry and the necessities of infrastructure collide with the inherent demands of a unique and stunning natural environment. It explores California politics (including Arnold Schwarzenegger's election in the 2003 recall), the multifaceted business landscape, and controversial icons such as O. J. Simpson.
"Historians of the future," Starr writes, "will be able to see with more certainty whether or not the period 1990-2003 was not only the end of one California but the beginning of another"; in the meantime, he gives a picture of the place and time in a book at once sweeping and riveting in its details, deeply informed, engagingly personal, and altogether fascinating.
"From the Hardcover edition.About the Author:
Kevin Starr is California's foremost historian and the author of a series of acclaimed books on the state. He is University Professor of History at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and lives in San Francisco.
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Book Description Allen Lane / Penguin Books Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. New. **Heavy volumes may require extra shipping if ordered from outside UK mainland. Please message for details prior to ordering.** (Ref.O1). Bookseller Inventory # 002824