Coast of Dreams by Kevin Starr
California on the Edge, 1990-2003

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In this extraordinary book, Kevin Starr–widely acknowledged as the premier historian of California, the scope of whose scholarship the Atlantic Monthly has called “breathtaking”–probes the possible collapse of the California dream in the years 1990—2003. In a series of compelling chapters, Coast of Dreams moves through a variety of topics that show the California of the last decade, when the state was sometimes stumbling, sometimes humbled, but, more often, flourishing with its usual panache.

From gang violence in Los Angeles to the spectacular rise–and equally spectacular fall–of Silicon Valley, from the Northridge earthquake to the recall of Governor Gray Davis, Starr ranges over myriad facts, anecdotes, news stories, personal impressions, and analyses to explore a time of unprecedented upheaval in California. Coast of Dreams describes an exceptional diversity of people, cultures, and values; an economy that mirrors the economic state of the nation; a battlefield where industry and the necessities of infrastructure collide with the inherent demands of a unique and stunning natural environment. It explores California politics (including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election in the 2003 recall), the multifaceted business landscape, and controversial icons such as O. J. Simpson.

“Historians of the future,” Starr writes, “will be able to see with more certainty whether or not the period 1990-2003 was not only the end of one California but the beginning of another”; in the meantime, he gives a picture of the place and time in a book at once sweeping and riveting in its details, deeply informed, engagingly personal, and altogether fascinating.

About Kevin Starr

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Kevin Starr is University Professor of History at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. From 1994 to 2004, he served as the state librarian for California. His writing has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and gold and silver medals from the Commonwealth Club of California. He divides his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Published September 14, 2004 by Knopf. 784 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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In which Starr brings his magnificent, multivolume series Americans and the California Dream, the product of a quarter-century of work, up to the present.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Coast of Dreams: California o...

The Guardian

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Coast of Dreams: A History of Contemporary California by Kevin Starr (Allen Lane £30, pp784) Schwarzenegger Syndrome by Gary Indiana (New Press £13.99, pp140) Long before that great psephological soap opera the 2003 recall election made ex-body builder and fading action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger...

Jul 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Coast of Dreams: California o...

The Guardian

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Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003 by Kevin Starr 784pp, Allen Lane, £30 There are, at least, two views of California.

Jul 09 2005 | Read Full Review of Coast of Dreams: California o...

Publishers Weekly

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This behemoth of a book continues Starr's extraordinary multivolume history of California. Not since Toynbee's or the Durants' universal histories has a seven-volume history of anything

Jul 05 2004 | Read Full Review of Coast of Dreams: California o...

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