Embattled Dreams by Kevin Starr
California in War and Peace, 1940-1950 (Americans and the California Dream)

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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. Now, in Embattled Dreams, the sixth volume in this monumental work, Starr looks at 1940s California, the war years and their aftermath.
California in the years surrounding World War II was a time of sweeping change, drama and intrigue, heroism and tragedy, a decade that saw the emergence of a new, more powerful role for California in the nation. Starr captures this exciting era with his unique vision and masterful prose. He describes the vast expansion of the war industry and California's role as "arsenal of democracy" (especially the significant part women played in the aviation industry). He examines the politics of the state: Earl Warren as the dominant political figure, the anti-communist movement and "red baiting," and the early career of Richard Nixon. He also looks at culture, ranging from Hollywood, to the counterculture with Henry Miller at Big Sur, to film noir and the fiction of Raymond Chandler. And he illuminates the harassment of Japanese immigrants and the shameful treatment of other minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks.
Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Starr as "the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence." In Embattled Dreams, Starr provides an unforgettable portrait of California, a spell-binding account of the state as it transformed itself from a regional power to the dominant economic, social, and cultural force in the nation.

About Kevin Starr

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Kevin Starr is the State Librarian of California. He also holds the rank of University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Southern California.
Published May 23, 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA. 416 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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While readers should not expect sustained analysis of any single subject, this ambitious book gives a broad, comprehensive overview of how the decade changed California ("Something vibrant, explosive, inchoate even, had entered the California experiment"), and how California in turn shaped the po...

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