Synopses & Reviews
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
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 Historians.
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