Should be required reading in any serious study of US history. Fabulous in exposing the true behavior and temperament of our countrymen just before and including the start of our Civil War. The idea of forcibly adding Cuba as a slave state seems preposterous if it wasn't true. The history books usually referenced in our educational system rarely depict the wretchedness of the household characters we have scrubbed squeaky clean for our history lessons. Loved reading this one from electronic cover to cover.
This is a very random but interesting collection of stories from the gold rush to the civil war in California but lacked a solid thesis to connect them together. The book does do an excellent job of showing how California became a state via its population boom. It tracks the lives of those who impacted California from the Pathfinder, to Thomas Hart Benton and Jefferson Davis as well as the players within California many of whom would shape the transcontinental railroad. As noted by an earlier review it does provide a very interesting glimpse as to why the territories of California, Nevada and Colorado/Utah became the states that they did through the slavery question and how California was forced to remain together rather than try to solve the national slave problem from the local perspective. For those looking for more on the history of California and want to learn more about the little known stories this is a great book to start doing so but it does not tell a coherent story and remains a random collection.
This is an amazing book. I was born, raised and educated here in California and thought I knew it all. But this book taught me more about California's history than I learned in public school. I read a lot and this is one of the best books in my collection.
Mr. Richards' book is fascinating. I highly recommend it to anyone with even a slight interest in history. The physical copy I received is the reason for only four stars. It was (I thought) supposed to be a new copy. However, the pages were discolored and the book had an odd smell. But, again, the writing is wonderful.
Books offer readers the frozen flexibility in which equality has been denied in the past. People who have problems dealing with all kinds of everything can relax with words on pages which never demand stop or I'll shoot. Contemplating new times for global superpower diplomatic immunity blunders likely to steal a thousand years from the future of just us fracking for the energy we need, minds that can drop back to a time when Mormons who had survived anti-Mormon wars and soldiers who fought in Mexico came to California for a new setting up future ambushes that nobody should know could not keep gold secret forever.
Publication of this book in 2008 was leading up to the decision of the United States Supreme Court on January 21, 2010 in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Laws that attempt to ace the reality of losing power wilt in a cycle of social hysteria dominated by fictive entities that can't be locked up or shut up. The Court decided freedom of speech can be money spent for pulling the rug out from under traditional ways of thinking by pretending our here comes everybody wilts two power pornographies on political questions that turn the crank for rodeo clowns grabbing the attention of the bucking bulls of party animalism. As 2017 darkens to a dismal end, the global reach of American taxation of transactions set into law in 2014 combines with independent prosecution of money laundering by power grab oxen using fictive entities for big bucks financial transactions to make big fat lying lawyers the height of the ridiculous.