Golden Dreams

Golden Dreams : California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963

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A narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose, Kevin Starr's acclaimed multi-volume Americans and the California Dream is an unparalleled work of cultural history. In this volume, Starr covers the crucial postwar period-1950 to 1963-when the California we know today first burst into prominence. Starr brilliantly illuminates the dominant economic, social, and cultural forces in California in these pivotal years. In a powerful blend of telling events, colorful personalities, and insightful analyses, Starr examines such issues as the overnight creation of the postwar California suburb, the rise of Los Angeles as Super City, the reluctant emergence of San Diego as one of the largest cities in the nation, and the decline of political centrism.
He explores the Silent Generation and the emergent Boomer youth cult, the Beats and the Hollywood "Rat Pack," the pervasive influence of Zen Buddhism and other Asian traditions in art and design, the rise of the University of California and the emergence of California itself as a utopia of higher education, the cooling of West Coast jazz, freeway and water projects of heroic magnitude, outdoor life and the beginnings of the environmental movement. More broadly, he shows how California not only became the most populous state in the Union, but in fact evolved into a mega-state en route to becoming the global commonwealth it is today. Golden Dreams continues an epic series that has been widely recognized for its signal contribution to the history of American culture in California. It is a book that transcends its stated subject to offer a wealth of insight into the growth of the Sun Belt and the West and indeed the dramatic transformation of America itself in these pivotal years following the Second World War. This is the seventh volume in Kevin Starr's widely acclaimed and monumental history of California-Americans and the California Dream.
It covers the crucial postwar period-1950 to 1963-when much of what has become California as we know it today was brought into existence. As in previous volumes, Starr brilliantly illuminates the dominant economic, social, and cultural forces in California in these years. Among the topics discussed are the suburbanization of California, with emphasis on the San Fernando Valley, Orange County, the San Francisco Peninsula, and Marin County; life style and the novels that reflected it; the rise of San Diego; the "Golden Age of San Francisco," with its cultural roots and influential minorities; Los Angeles, the Chandlers, the Music Center, the Dodgers, and its special lifestyle; defense industries; Cold War "think tanks," Palo Alto and the creation of the transistor and later the computer industry; the new California "Multiversity" and its director, Clark Kerr; public works, with special emphasis on the burgeoning of freeways; and cultural events and happenings, including jazz, the "Beats," the Hollywood "rat pack" (Sinatra and friends) and the flowering of Palm Springs, youth culture, and "Zen California."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 576 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 40.64mm | 975.22g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 50 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195153774
  • 9780195153774
  • 1,382,881

About Kevin Starr

Kevin Starr is University Professor and Professor of History, University of Southern California, and State Librarian of California Emeritus. His Americans and the California Dream series has earned him the National Medal for the Humanities, the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University, the Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Club of California, a Guggenheim fellowship, and election to the Society of American
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Review quote

A delightful and extremely thorough chronicle of a state that is almost a mythical kingdom. Nobody who is interested in any of the intellectual currents of American history, or of the roots of twentieth (perhaps even twenty-first) century thought, can fail to enjoy this. * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across the disciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and water management, no recent project of American historical writing comes close to Kevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume Americans and the California Dream.... It is a magnificent accomplishment. * David Rieff, * This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandest kind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought to see them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam of anecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures of California history.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable public treasure * David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle * Starr bids fair to become the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence. * Philadelphia Inquirer * An impressive book...The grasp is sure, the learning awesome. The prose...has a drive that carries cities and industries and people and decades headlong toward their manifest destiny. * The New York Times * marvellously cohesive and concise...Starr's engaging style makes it a pleasure to read. * Michael Saler, Times Literary Supplement *
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Table of contents

Preface ; PART ONE: SUBURBAN ASSUMPTIONS ; 1. San Fernando: Homes and Happiness in Residential Subdivisions ; 2. Designs for the Good Life: Modernism, Tiki, Ranch ; PART TWO: URBAN PERSPECTIVES ; 3. Urban Expectations: San Diego Leverages Itself into Big City Status ; 4. Baghdad by the Bay: Herb Caen's San Francisco ; 5. The Cardinal, the Chief, Buff, and Walter O'Malley: Upgrading the City of Angels ; 6. Downsides and Dividends: Los Angeles as Super City ; PART THREE: POLITICS AND PUBLIC WORKS ; 7. Common Ground and the Party of California: The Reluctant Retirement of Goodwin J. Knight ; 8. Cold War Campus: The University of California and Other Secret Places ; 9. Freeways to the Future: An Epic Construction on Behalf of the Automobile ; 10. Mare Nostrum: Achieving the California Water Project ; PART FOUR: ART AND LIFE ; 11. Provincials, Baghdader, and Beats: Literary San Francisco in the 1950s ; 12. Big Sur: The Search for Alternative Value ; 13. The Silent Generation: Coming of Age on the Coast of Dreams ; 14. Brubeck! Jazz Goes to College ; PART FIVE: GROWTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT ; 15. Ahwahnee and the John Muir Trail: Variations on an Outdoor Theme ; 16. Largest State in the Nation: A Rebellion against Growth and the Destruction of the Environment ; PART SIX: CHANGING TIMES ; 17. Dissenting Opinions: California Enters the Nineteen Sixties ; 18. Cool, Not Cool: Epilogues and Transitions ; Notes ; Bibliographic Essay
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Rating details

112 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 38% (42)
4 38% (43)
3 21% (23)
2 4% (4)
1 0% (0)
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