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West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State

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West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Teddy Roosevelt once exclaimed, “When I am in California, I am not in the West. I am west of the West,” and in this book, Mark Arax spends four years travelling up and down the Golden State to explore its singular place in the world. This is California beyond the clichés. This is California as only a native son, deep in the dust, could draw it.

Compelling, lyrical, and ominous, his new collection finds a different drama rising out of each confounding landscape. “The Summer of the Death of Hilario Guzman” has been praised as a “stunningly intimate” portrait of one immigrant family from Oaxaca, through harrowing border crossings and brutal raisin harvests. Down the road in the “Home Front,” right-wing Christians and Jews form a strange pact that tries to silence debate on the War on Terror, and a conflicted father loses not one but two sons in Iraq. “The Last Okie in Lamont,” the inspiration for the town in the Grapes of Wrath, has but one Okie left, who tells Arax his life story as he drives to a funeral to bury one more Dust Bowl migrant. “The Highlands of Humboldt” is a journey to marijuana growing capital of the U.S., where the old hippies are battling the new hippies over “pollution pot” and the local bank collects a mountain of cash each day, much of it redolent of cannabis. Arax pieces together the murder-suicide at the heart of a rotisserie chicken empire in “The Legend of Zankou,” a story included in the Best American Crime Reporting 2009. And, in the end, he provides a moving epilogue to the murder of his own father, a crime in the California heartland finally solved after thirty years.

In the finest tradition of Joan Didion, Arax combines journalism, essay, and memoir to capture social upheaval as well as the sense of being rooted in a community. Piece by piece, the stories become a whole, a stunning panorama of California, and America, in a new century.

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Didion, Stegner, and McPhee, an intimate portrait of California in flux by the best-selling author of The King of California

Synopsis:

Teddy Roosevelt once exclaimed, "When I am in California, I am not in the West. I am west of the West," and in this book, Mark Arax spends four years traveling up and down the Golden State to explore its singular place in the world. This is California beyond the clichés. This is California as only a native son, deep in the dust, could draw it. Compelling, lyrical and ominous, his collection finds a different drama rising out of each confounding landscape. Arax combines journalism, essay, and memoir to capture social upheaval as well as the sense of being rooted in a community. Piece by piece, the stories become a whole, a stunning panorama of California, and America, in a new century.

About the Author

Award-winning author and journalist Mark Arax has written two previous books, The King of California--a Los Angeles Times bestseller and Best Book of the Year--and In My Father's Name. He is a former senior writer at the Los Angeles Times and a senior policy director for the majority leader in the California Senate. He has taught nonfiction writing at Claremont McKenna College and Fresno State University. A father of three, he lives on his suburban farm in Fresno.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781586489830
Author:
Arax, Mark
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
General-General
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Publication Date:
20110331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
none
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » California
History and Social Science » Sociology » Regional Studies
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » North America » United States » Western States

West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State New Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages PublicAffairs - English 9781586489830 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In the tradition of Didion, Stegner, and McPhee, an intimate portrait of California in flux by the best-selling author of The King of California
"Synopsis" by ,
Teddy Roosevelt once exclaimed, "When I am in California, I am not in the West. I am west of the West," and in this book, Mark Arax spends four years traveling up and down the Golden State to explore its singular place in the world. This is California beyond the clichés. This is California as only a native son, deep in the dust, could draw it. Compelling, lyrical and ominous, his collection finds a different drama rising out of each confounding landscape. Arax combines journalism, essay, and memoir to capture social upheaval as well as the sense of being rooted in a community. Piece by piece, the stories become a whole, a stunning panorama of California, and America, in a new century.
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