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Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963 (Americans and the California Dream)


Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963 (Americans and the California Dream) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

About the Author

University Professor and Professor of History, University of Southern California, and State Librarian of California Emeritus

Table of Contents


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


Bibliographic Essay

Product Details

Starr, Kevin
Oxford University Press, USA
Starr, Kevin
null, Kevin
History, American | Since 1945
World History-General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
30 halftones
6.1 x 9.1 x 1.6 in 1.65 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » California
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

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