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Publisher's Summary

In this first biography of Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. in more than 30 years, Chuck McFadden explores the unique persona of one of the most idiosyncratic politicians in California history. The son of California political royalty who forged his own political style against the tumultuous backdrop of a huge, balkanized state - and shoved to and fro by complex currents - Jerry Brown pursued visionary impulses as well as his grandiose ambitions. McFadden traces Brown's childhood in San Francisco, his time studying for the priesthood, his unusual political career, and his romances - including a long-term relationship with singer Linda Ronstadt. He describes Brown's first two terms as governor, advocating for farm workers, women and minorities, his time roaming the world in a spiritual quest, and his return to the gritty world of politics as chairman of the California Democratic Party and then mayor of Oakland. Political experts weigh in with thoughts about the remarkable 2010 campaign that saw the 72-year-old Brown winning his third term in office while being vastly outspent by Republican Meg Whitman.
Concise, insightful, and enlivened by the events and personalities that colored the history of California, Trailblazer provides an intimate portrait of the pugnacious, adept politician who has bucked national trends to become a leader of one of the largest economies in the world.
©2013 The Regents of the University of California (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By William on 08-01-17


Great bio of Jerry. Goes well with Cali history. Entertaining and skilled. The voice of the reader is perfect.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Susie on 01-27-14

A Very Real and Quite Surprising Story

It’s almost impossible to condense all there is to write about California Governor Jerry Brown. Does one point to the numerous political accomplishments of a no B.S., get-things-done, governor-Democratic Chairman-Mayor-Attorney General-Governor?

Or, does one focus on Governor Moonbeam, the rock star-dating do-gooder who has, among other things, studied in both a Jesuit Seminary, and a Zen Monastery, worked with Mother Teresa, and was a CARE ambassador to flood victims in Bangladesh?

Lucky for me, I don’t have to make that choice. Chuck McFadden’s Trailblazer cover’s all the angles, and is a great read to boot.

You cannot be a Californian and read this book without swelling with pride. Jerry Brown made California the nation's leader in clean air reform, added jobs when the rest of the country was losing them, and got this fractious state to vote to raise taxes to save the economy.

Brown's journey has so many twists and turns it sounds like fiction, and there are plenty of celebrities and political hot-shots dotted along the path.

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2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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