Material Dreams

Material Dreams : Southern California through the 1920s

4.01 (97 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


The third of Kevin Starr's monumental studies of the origins and development of the California dream covers the decade, which perhaps glittered the most brightly in the history of the Golden State - the 1920s. This was the era of colourful, larger-than-life individuals - from movie stars to evangelists to grandiose town planners; the era of Valentino, as well as that of William Ellsworth Smyth, tireless crusader for the irrigation of the desert. It was also the period in which the characteristics of Los Angeles' vital culture were established.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 35.56mm | 703.06g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 24 pp plates
  • 019507260X
  • 9780195072600
  • 2,092,700

Back cover copy

In this book, the author is focusing on the making of Southern California, its design and material construction in the early and mid-twentieth century, with special reference to the visions and metaphors underlying such a process. This is also a book about design, construction, and identity, whether in aqueducts, architecture, gardens, city-plans, transportation systems, hotels, studio sets, symphony orchestras, or hydroelectric grids.
show more

Review quote

`Kevin Starr has written an engaging, eccentric history of Southern California in the '20s ... It is richly researched, informative, fun to read and the writing is bright (with substance, pace and vigor).'
Los Angeles Times `Material Dreams is a splendid achievement: impressively researched, expertly argued and nicely varied ... (Starr) has taken a sprawling, recalcitrant subject, at once encrusted with cliche and dogged by obscurity, and made it vivid and comprehensible.'
Boston Sunday Globe
show more

About Kevin Starr

Kevin Starr is the author of the series Americans and the California Dream, including the previously published Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915, and Inventing the Dream: California through the Progressive Era. The next installment is The Dream Endures: California through the Great Depression.
show more

Rating details

97 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 27% (26)
4 51% (49)
3 20% (19)
2 3% (3)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X