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Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California
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Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California (Americans and the California Dream #4)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  71 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In "Endangered Dreams," Starr begins with the rise of radicalism on the Pacific Coast, which erupted when the Great Depression swept over California in the 1930s. Starr captures the triumphs and tumult of the great agricultural strikes in the Imperial Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, Stockton, and Salinas, identifying the crucial role played by Communist organizers; he also ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 7th 1995)
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carl  theaker
Apr 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history

The Starr falls a bit with this episode.

Volume 4 should be re-titled 'Labor Relations in California 1849-1940',
which the author as much admits in the preface, but that wouldn't be
match the title theme, and oh yeah tack 'Dreams' on the end.

All historians like a setup, though here covering the labor movement
from the mid 1800s to 1930 takes a good percentage of this book
(60 of 354 pages). I was eager for the Depression tales.

In the setup the IWW-Wobblies, of whom I've always had a sympathetic
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, must-reads
While still outstanding, Starr's third volume wasn't as strong as his first two. Oddly, he repeats himself many times throughout this book, sometimes spending pages describing essentially the same incidents he had already written about several chapters prior. Perhaps his book could have been more tightly edited. Starr moves away from the "great man" style of historical writing he used in the first two volumes, and it's also possible that the transition to a more mosaic approach came with some gr ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bins
Kevin Starr's magisterial history of California during the Great Depression begins with a brief summary of the history of organized (and disorganized) labor in California from statehood through the '20's. This sets the stage for his account of the polarization which would come to characterize life in the Golden State in the '30's, between the forces of labor and their intellectual allies on the one hand, and the forces of capital, supported by the inherent conservatism of what the depression le ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kevin Starr's history of California during the Great Depression is an extraordinarily researched and detailed work. It is part of his massive "Americans and the California Dream", an encyclopedic, multi-volume history of California. Much of the book focuses on the titanic struggles between Labor and Capital that took place during this period. I had some familiarity with this material, but I had no idea of how many and how hard fought the Labor struggles of this period were. Starr's account of th ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it liked it
The title tells you what to expect, and Starr delivers. I learned much about the Golden State's leaden years. My biggest gripe is Starr's organization of material -- which he delivers thematically, rather than chronologically, so the book keeps circling back to the start of the decade (and to origins long before 1930) as Starr picks up each successive thread, which makes it difficult to appreciate which events occurred concurrently. It strikes me that history is best told chronologically, the wa ...more
Marcus Lundberg
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
The first 200+ pages is a history of the struggle of the labor movement in California, and I was looking for a bigger picture. As an example, I would have like to know more about migration to California, where the immigrants ended up and how/if they got assimilated. In this book there is little room for poor people unless they had a union member card...
The second part of the book is a more general overview of the the historic events that formed California during the depression, and I really like
Marie Harms
I read this because I recently re-read John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. This book, written in 1996, explores many of the themes, people and places in Grapes of Wrath. Reading this added depth to my understanding of the Great American Migration.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Should be required reading for every Californian (and for those who love the state). See Starr's other works in this series.
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
See title. A true-life counterpoint to Depression era literature like "Grapes of Wrath." Chapters on Steinbeck and his contemporaries are quite interesting.
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Kevin Starr was an American historian, best-known for his multi-volume series on the history of California, collectively called "America and the California Dream".
More about Kevin Starr...

Other Books in the Series

Americans and the California Dream (7 books)
  • Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915
  • Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era
  • Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s
  • The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s
  • Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950
  • Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963

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