Endangered Dreams

Endangered Dreams : The Great Depression in California

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Endangered Dreams is the fourth book in a series by Kevin Starr on Californian life and culture under the general title Americans and the California Dream. This book focuses on California during the Great Depression of the 1930s, specifically on its politics, labour disputes, and major building projects.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 167.64 x 238.76 x 43.18mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 16 pp halftones
  • 0195100808
  • 9780195100808

Review quote

This is an impressive and wide-ranging book, one in which the author displays mastery of a dazzling array of topics and disciplines ... The author also writes in a very colourful and lively style, ensuring that the book is always easy to read ... this is an enjoyable and informative work, one that will prove valuable both to Californian historians and to students of the Great Depression. * Philip J. Cullis, University of Edinburgh, Labour History Review, Vol 64, no 1, spring 1999 *show more

Back cover copy

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 shows how, after some successes, the Communists disbanded their unions on direct orders of the Comintern in 1935. The highpoint of social conflict, however, was 1934, the year of the coastwide maritime strike, and here Starr's narrative talents are at their best as he brings to life the astonishing general strike that took control of San Francisco, where workers led by charismatic longshoreman Harry Bridges mounted the barricades to stand off National Guardsmen. That same year socialist Upton Sinclair won the Democratic nomination for governor, and he launched his dramatic End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign. In the end, however, these challenges galvanized the Right in a corporate, legal, and vigilante counterattack that crushed both organized labor and Sinclair. And yet, the Depression also brought out the finest in Californians: state Democrats fought for a local New Deal; California natives helped care for more than a million impoverished migrants through public and private programs; artists movingly documented the impact of the Depression; and an unprecedented program of public works (capped by the Golden Gate Bridge) made the California we know today possible.show more

About Kevin Starr

Kevin Starr is State Librarian of California, contributing editor of the Los Angeles Times, and a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California. He is the author of a number of books, including Americans and the California Dream, Inventing the Dream, and Material Dreams. He lives in San Francisco.show more

Rating details

70 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 33% (23)
4 39% (27)
3 24% (17)
2 4% (3)
1 0% (0)
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