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Starr brilliantly illuminates the dominant economic, social, and cultural forces in California in these pivotal years. In a powerful blend of telling events, colorful personalities, and insightful analyses, Starr examines such issues as the overnight creation of the postwar California suburb, the rise of Los Angeles as Super City, the reluctant emergence of San Diego as one of the largest cities in the nation, and the decline of political centrism. He explores the Silent Generation and the emergent Boomer youth cult, the Beats and the Hollywood "Rat Pack," the pervasive influence of Zen Buddhism and other Asian traditions in art and design, the rise of the University of California and the emergence of California itself as a utopia of higher education, the cooling of West Coast jazz, freeway and water projects of heroic magnitude, outdoor life and the beginnings of the environmental movement. More broadly, he shows how California not only became the most populous state in the Union, but in fact evolved into a mega-state en route to becoming the global commonwealth it is today.
Golden Dreams continues an epic series that has been widely recognized for its signal contribution to the history of American culture in California. It is a book that transcends its stated subject to offer a wealth of insight into the growth of the Sun Belt and the West and indeed the dramatic transformation of America itself in these pivotal years following the Second World War.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Roger on 08-24-16
Give us more Starr on California!!
Would you listen to Golden Dreams again? Why?
Yes. There is so much detail, its hard to take it in and ponder on the first reading.
What about Elijah Alexander’s performance did you like?
He was very good except for his annoying attempts, when reading a quotation in the book, to imitate what he thinks that author would have sounded like. Universally lame. This is not fiction, so voice characterizations are unnecessary. Lose the whole attempt in the next books.
Any additional comments?
I've been waiting ever since becoming an Audible listener for recordings of the Starr series on California social history. This is the first volume. Give us more...PLEASE...and soon. Anyone interested in California as a place and a culture will enjoy Starr's narratives.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By B. on 04-22-18
One of the best history books I've listened to
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish the rest of the volumes in this remarkable series were also available in audiobook form. Starr's approach is a combination of survey and deep focus, covering the broad trends in the state's development during this period through a series of in-depth treatments of people, places, and cultural and political aspects. So he covers everything from the design and construction of freeways to the economic and racial tensions arising from the growth of Los Angeles to the origin and success of West Coast jazz. Along the way, he provides wonderful sketches of characters such as Roger Revelle, Dorothy "Buff" Chandler, Dave Brubeck, and Edmund G. "Pat" Brown (Jerry Brown's dad). The range, diversity, and continuing interest of the material is exceptional. Since listening to this, I've found it tough to find another audiobook that comes up to this standard.
Dear Audible Studios: please put the rest of Kevin Starr's "Americans and the California Dream" series on your "To Do" list.