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

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Description

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 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. Praise for Americans and the California Dream: "Monumental." -The Atlantic "Conceived in dazzling ambition and masterfully executed. It is, in sum, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that it is wonderfully readable." - Los Angeles Times "An engaging, dazzling account of the emerging American Century." -San Francisco Chronicleshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 40.64mm | 793.78g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199832498
  • 9780199832491
  • 1,730,441

Review quote

"With the publication of Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963, Kevin Starr has completed his transformation from the state's greatest historian to its indispensable one.... His eight-volume series, published under the umbrella title Americans and the California Dream, constitutes as comprehensive a social, political, ethnographic, cultural and philosophical history as any state is ever likely to achieve. It was conceived in dazzling ambition and masterfully executed. The author's scholarship and erudition animate each volume without once falling into the trap of self-regard. It is, in sum, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that it is wonderfully readable."--Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times"This final volume is of the same high quality as the previous ones: spirited in style... [a] wonderfully readable descriptive history...."--Publishers Weekly"Monumental."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic"Starr's masterly accounts of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco."--The Economist"Who besides Kevin Starr could cover the entire social, economic, political and artistic history of California during the era and somehow extrapolate it into an engaging, dazzling account of the emerging American Century."--Phyllis Filiberti Butler, San Francisco Chronicle"Starr's magnum opus-eight volumes to date, and still not complete- will endure the test of years, not least for its heft and its dogged ambition. Students of California history-of the history of the American West generally-have no choice but to confront this impressive oeuvre penned over decades by the State Librarian of California Emeritus, now a professor at the University of Southern California."--Books & Culture"Kevin Starr's Golden Dreams...is marvellously cohesive and concise, and Starr's engaging style makes it a pleasure to read." --Times Literary Supplement Online"Without parallel. Each volume in the series demonstrates again that this is one of the commanding achievements of American letters, and of the state he celebrates." --Western American Literature "With the publication of Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963, Kevin Starr has completed his transformation from the state's greatest historian to its indispensable one.... His eight-volume series, published under the umbrella title Americans and the California Dream, constitutes as comprehensive a social, political, ethnographic, cultural and philosophical history as any state is ever likely to achieve. It was conceived in dazzling ambition and masterfully executed. The author's scholarship and erudition animate each volume without once falling into the trap of self-regard. It is, in sum, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that it is wonderfully readable."--Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times"This final volume is of the same high quality as the previous ones: spirited in style... [a] wonderfully readable descriptive history...."--Publishers Weekly"Monumental."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic"Starr's masterly accounts of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco."--The Economist"Who besides Kevin Starr could cover the entire social, economic, political and artistic history of California during the era and somehow extrapolate it into an engaging, dazzling account of the emerging American Century."--Phyllis Filiberti Butler, San Francisco Chronicle"Starr's magnum opus-eight volumes to date, and still not complete- will endure the test of years, not least for its heft and its dogged ambition. Students of California history-of the history of the American West generally-have no choice but to confront this impressive oeuvre penned over decades by the State Librarian of California Emeritus, now a professor at the University of Southern California."--Books & Culture"Kevin Starr's Golden Dreams...is marvellously cohesive and concise, and Starr's engaging style makes it a pleasure to read." --Times Literary Supplement Online"Without parallel. Each volume in the series demonstrates again that this is one of the commanding achievements of American letters, and of the state he celebrates." --Western American Literature "Conceived in dazzling ambition and masterfully executed . It is, in sum, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that it is wonderfully readable."-Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times"This final volume is of the same high quality as the previous ones: spirited in style... [a] wonderfully readable descriptive history...."--Publishers Weekly"Monumental."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic"Masterly accounts of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco."--The Economist"Who besides Kevin Starr could cover the entire social, economic, political and artistic history of California during the era and somehow extrapolate it into an egaging, dazzling account of the emerging American Century."--Phyllis Filiberti Butler, San Francisco Chronicle"Starr's magnum opus-eight volumes to date, and still not complete- will endure the test of years, not least for its heft and its dogged ambition. Students of California history-of the history of the American West generally-have no choice but to confront this impressive oeuvre penned over decades by the State Librarian of California Emeritus, now a professor at the University of Southern California."--Books & Culture"Kevin Starr's Golden Dreams...is marvellously cohesive and concise, and Starr's engaging style makes it a pleasure to read." --Times Literary Supplement Online"Without parallel. Each volume in the series demonstrates again that this is one of the commanding achievements of American letters, and of the state he celebrates." --Western American Literature"A landmark study of the greatest U.S. state." -Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairsshow more

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 Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Club of California, and election to the Society of American Historians.show more

Table of contents

Preface ; Part I: Suburban Assumptions ; Ch 1: San Fernando: Homes and Happiness in Residential Subdivisions ; Ch 2: Designs for the Good Life: Modernism, Tiki, Ranch ; Part II: Urban Perspectives ; Ch 3: Urban Expectations: San Diego Leverages Itself into Big-City Status ; Ch 4: Baghdad by the Bay: Herb Caen's San Francisco ; Ch 5: The Cardinal, the Chief, Walter O'Malley, and Buff Chandler: Redefining the City of Angels ; Ch 6: Downsides and Dividends: Los Angeles as Supercity ; Part III: Politics and Public Works ; Ch 7: Warren, Nixon, Knight, and Knowland: The Demise of Republican Centrism ; Ch 8: Cold War Campus: The University of California and Other Secret Places ; Ch 9: Freeways to the Future: An Epic Construction on Behalf of the Automobile ; Ch 10: Mare Nostrum: The State Water Project ; Part IV: Art and Life ; Ch 11: Provincials, Baghdader, and Beats: Literary San Francisco in the 1950s ; Ch 12: Big Sur: The Search for Alternative Value ; Ch 13: The Silent Generation: Coming of Age on the Coast of Dreams ; Ch 14: Brubeck! Jazz Goes to College ; Part Five: Dissenting Opinions ; Ch 15: Largest State in the Nation: A Rebellion against Growth and the Destruction of the Environment ; Ch 16: People of Color: The Beginning of the End for Jim Crow California ; Ch 17: Cool, Not Cool: Headlines and Transitions ; Notes ; Bibliographic Essayshow more

Rating details

109 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 37% (40)
4 39% (42)
3 21% (23)
2 4% (4)
1 0% (0)
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