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Jeff Dickey,Rough Guides

The Rough Guide to California is the definitive handbook to this diverse state. Features include: - Full-colour section introducing California's highlights. - Expert accounts of the state's wealth of attractions, from the glamorous neighbourhoods of LA to the snowy slopes of Lake Tahoe, plus coverage of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. - In-depth reviews of hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, to suit all tastes and budgets - Practical advice on exploring California's coast, deserts and spectacular national parks, plus all the hiking and camping details you'll need. - Maps and plans covering the entire state.

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Donna Peck

This guide reveals the best of 37 communities along California's 1,100-mile coast, including San Diego's grassy parks and trails, San Luis Obispo's sun-drenched vineyards, and Pacific Grove's spectacular Monterey Bay.

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Carey McWilliams

In 1949, lawyer, historian, and journalist Carey McWilliams stepped back to assess the state of California at the end of its first one hundred years—its history, population, politics, agriculture, and social concerns. As he examined the reasons for the prodigious growth and productivity that have characterized California since the Gold Rush, he praised the vitality of the new citizens who had come from all over the world to populate the state in a very short time. But he also made clear how brutally the new Californians dealt with "the Indian problem," the water problem, and the need for migrant labor to facilitate California's massive and highly profitable agricultural industry. As we look back now on 150 years of statehood, it is particularly useful to place the events of the past fifty years in the context of McWilliams's assessment in California: The Great Exception. Lewis Lapham has written a new foreword for this edition.

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Kevin Starr

California has always been our Shangri-la–the promised land of countless pilgrims in search of the American Dream. Now the Golden State’s premier historian, Kevin Starr, distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, this is the story of a place at once quintessentially American and utterly unique. Arguing that America’s most populous state has always been blessed with both spectacular natural beauty and astonishing human diversity, Starr unfolds a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph. For generations, California’s native peoples basked in the abundance of a climate and topography eminently suited to human habitation. By the time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, there were scores of autonomous tribes were thriving in the region. Though conquest was rapid, nearly two centuries passed before Spain exerted control over upper California through the chain of missions that stand to this day. The discovery of gold in January 1848 changed everything. With population increasing exponentially as get-rich-quick dreamers converged from all over the world, California reinvented itself overnight. Starr deftly traces the successive waves of innovation and calamity that have broken over the state since then–the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons and the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the heroic irrigation and transportation projects that have altered the face of the region; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace. Kevin Starr has devoted his career to the history of his beloved state, but he has never lost his sense of wonder over California’s sheer abundance and peerless variety. This one-volume distillation of a lifetime’s work gathers together everything that is most important, most fascinating, and most revealing about our greatest state. From the Hardcover edition.