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California: The Great Exception
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California: The Great Exception

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  3 reviews
In 1949, lawyer, historian, and journalist Carey McWilliams stepped back to assess the state of California at the end of its first one hundred years—its history, population, politics, agriculture, and social concerns. As he examined the reasons for the prodigious growth and productivity that have characterized California since the Gold Rush, he praised the vitality of the ...more
Paperback, 391 pages
Published April 2nd 1999 by University of California Press (first published 1976)
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David Wilkins
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
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 f ...more
Reveals the true history of California, stripped of all the glamor and glitz
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