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The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  13 reviews
"Miriam Pawel’s fascinating book . . . illuminates the sea change in the nation’s politics in the last half of the 20th century."--New York Times Book Review

A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall

A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley--
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Cozy Cat Reviews
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a native resident of our greatest state of California I was thrilled to receive this book for review. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. I have admired the Brown family for generations and applaud their efforts on behalf of our great state.
This is a definitive guide to the Brown family from a historical aspect to present day. I appreciated the well researched information and family history that brought the Brown's to California politics. It is a exciting read and one that I would
Jason Pomerance
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For anybody interested in the history of California, this is a must-read, because the history of the Brown family IS the history of California. I have always found Jerry Brown to be a fascinating character, but there was so much I didn't know about the rest of the family. Pawel has done an extraordinary job bringing the Browns to life. Definitely recommend this absorbing book!
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
It sounded like an interesting read: I have Pawel's other book on Cesar Chavez ('The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography') although I have not read it, being somewhat intimidated by the size and not being that familiar with Chavez. This came through my library queue and also required to move this up since there's a wait list. However, I'm not sure this really worked and found it very difficult to get through.

The book is very much what it says on the tin: the story of the Brown family (Jerry is
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All who love history
The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation by Miriam Pawel from Bloomsbury Publishing is an amazing, knockout of a book. It is excellently written and excellently researched. Ms Pawel's research used family archives and diaries, photos and personal interviews. She takes you from Jerry Brown's great-grandfather August Schuckman's journey from Prussia to California during the gold rush working several jobs to buy his piece of the American dream. She c ...more
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: who enjoy really good literature
Recommended to Gary by: OSHER book group
In a great many ways, this book is about friendship. No matter how confined we are, as long as there is a relationship available, a friendship is a possibility. Towles weaves this through his book effortlessly taking you through friendships between Rostov and a poet-which lands him confined in a hotel for life, a young girl who gets enough confidence in him to leave her child, a bureaucrat who has Rostov under surveillance, and a leading actress which goes from a one night stand to a lifelong r ...more
Alex Timberman
This is a broad, great history of mostly Pat and Jerry Brown. Also, it is a story of their immigrant heritage, Jesuit background, and the story of California. The issues California faced with water, its startling growth, and its rise to become the most populous state are covered. So are all of the actors, business people of the day, and politicians. This book also revealed something I did not know, but should have known. How politicians are often cozy with the wealthy. The author was not always ...more
Literary Soirée
THE BROWNS OF CALIFORNIA by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Miriam Pawel is one of Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall, for good reason. This absorbing read takes us through California’s glorious past from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley, viewed through the scrim of the Brown dynasty at Cali’s helm for 25 years.

In this incisive narrative, we learn of four family generations ... from August Schuckman, a Prussian immigrant who settled on a northern California ranch in 1852 after tr
Jo Stafford
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I was somewhat disappointed with The Browns of California. Sure, there's a lot of information in its pages about the Brown family, particularly the governorships of Pat and Jerry, but there's very little assessment of their policies and their impacts on the Golden State. There's a difference between describing a politician's policies and actions, and examining and analyzing that politician's programs and legislative agenda. Miriam Pawel does well with the former but falls short on the latter. He ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sweeping overview of California history going back in time& through Silicon Valley.The Brownsfamily history is directly connected to California history they play an integral part in the story of this state up till today as Jerry Brown is the Governor.A fascinating so well written look at this family and the state of California.Thanks@netgalley @bloomsburypublishers,
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Loved the whole "Browns in California" ancestry trip. Pat Brown was before my time, but I lived in CA in Jerry's first and second governorship and in Bay Area when he was Oakland Mayor. This book does a good job of covering how well he handled the CA problems...and why he did not gain traction in his Presidential aspirations. Worth a read for anyone interested in political service.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This book purports to describe a portion of California history through the lens of the Brown family and to some extent it succeeds. I certainly learned a fair bit of California history and a good deal about Pat and Jerry Brown. Yet the book felt surprising flat. Neither Pat nor Jerry Brown came to life as individuals and the history, which covers important parts of the state history, seemed cursory, as events went quickly by without much analysis or insight. While I found the book reasonably int ...more
Gayla Bassham
Excellent overview of the lives of Pat and Jerry Brown, father-and-son California governors.
Cristie Underwood
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Wow! This was such an interesting and well researched account of California's history and the connection that the Brown family shares with it.
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Miriam Pawel is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who spent 25 years as a reporter and editor at Newsday and the Los Angeles Times before becoming an author and independent historian. For more information about Miriam, background on "The Union of Their Dreams," photos and audio clips, check out