Synopses & Reviews
Part history, part travelogue, part love letter, The Golden Shore
tells the story of California's majestic coastline.
From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, The Golden Shore tells the tale of the history, culture, and changing nature of California's coasts and ocean. Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the 1,100-mile Pacific coastline from the Oregon border to the San Diego/Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale, seal, and shark infested offshore seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests.
The Golden Shore captures the spirit of the Californian coast, its mythic place in American culture, and its role in a state whose ongoing natural disasters and unremitting sense of renewal are intimately linked to its deep connection with an ever-changing sea.
"In this ambitious work, journalist and conservationist Helvarg (Saved by the Sea) successfully relates the myriad ways in which Californians engage with their beloved Pacific. This reader-friendly sampling of people, places, and their interactions combines biographical sketches of leading figures and civilians with rapturous paeans to beautiful locales and historical snippets. Unsurprisingly, Helvarg starts with surfing, specifically the Mavericks big-wave contest at Half Moon Bay. He covers California's Native population from the earliest arrivals to a recent victory requiring the removal of dams on the Klamath River to return it and its fishing to a more natural state. Environmental issues appear throughout, though Helvarg also devotes entire chapters to shipping, including the port complex of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the fifth largest in the world, as well as the Navy's history with, and presence, in California. In two late chapters Helvarg describes a coastal drive from Mexico to Oregon, and then concludes with thoughts on how Californians will face ongoing environmental trials, such as a projected sea level rise of three feet or more. Californians and readers interested in the intersection of nature, commerce, recreation, and science will appreciate this title. 12 b&w photos. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"David Helvarg's passion for the ocean is equaled only by his elegance in writing about it. Like the ocean itself, The Golden Shore ranges from the glimmering surface to mysterious mid-waters to far deeper realms. This book will remind everyone who reads it of one fundamental fact: we live on a water planet. No author has conveyed this with more art and meaning." Susan Casey, author of The Wave
"The Golden Shore is a thrilling read. Join master storyteller David Helvarg on a heart-pounding journey into the tumultuous past, provocative present and promising future of California's wild blue frontier." Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence
"As geography, history, and myth, the power of California as place, society, and dream is best encountered on its shoreline. In 'Facing West From California Shores,' Walt Whitman bore witness to this drama. In the decades that followed, writers such as Mary Austin, J. Smeaton Chase, Robinson Jeffers, and John Steinbeck each encountered the California shore as fact and symbol. And now David Helvarg embarks upon an odyssey up the coast of dreams, asking the question: what is contemporary California telling itself about itself — and what does this mean for the nation?" Kevin Starr, author of California: A History
“We've gotten used to thinking of California's jammed freeways, or its tech riches, or its Hollywood excess. But David Helvarg's splendid account reminds us that those are transitory — in the beginning and the end, the golden state is the place where North America meets the mighty Pacific, a coast of unvanquishable splendor and unforgettable history.” Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“The Golden Shore is about more than one man's love affair with California's iconic coast. Its the history of an environmental consciousness that has been impressed upon people around the globe. This is a vital story that will help inform future generations of how and why we work so diligently to protect and preserve California's majestic coast. I applaud David Helvarg for this great work.” John Laird, Chair, California Ocean Protection Council
“For all its mountains and forests, farms and deserts, California would not be California without its iconic shores. But, turns out, there's much more to it than the Beach Boys surfin' coast. This book dives deep, literally and figuratively, from deep history to deep waters to where it's all headed. Find a comfortable chair, preferably with a view of the sea, because you've got your hands on a good read, told by one of our nations most passionate journalists — who, thankfully, happens to be a devoted coast-lover.” Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World.
"Having lived in California for 44 years I was surprised by how much I learned from David Helvarg's book, The Golden Shore. It blew my mind. If you have the same love affair for the beautiful California coast and ocean as I do, this marvelous and compelling book is a must read." Jean-Michel Cousteau, Explorer, Founder and President, Ocean Futures Society
About the Author
David Helvarg is founder and Executive Director of the Blue Frontier Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based organization working for ocean and coastal conservation. An award-winning journalist, he has written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Popular Science, Sierra, and Parade, and has produced more than forty documentaries for PBS, the Discovery Channel, and others. His previous books include Rescue Warriors and Saved by the Sea. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.