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The Honorable Culbert Levy Olson  By  cover art

The Honorable Culbert Levy Olson

By: Debra Deanne Olson,Dr. Craig West Wilkinson
Narrated by: Sean McElhiney
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Publisher's Summary

Governor Culbert L. Olson is one of the most important and prominent men you have probably never heard of. Elected governor of California in 1938, he is noted for being the first Democratic governor of the state in over 40 years. His term spanned the years 1939 to 1943, years of tumult and trial for California and for all of America. It included the last part of America's Great Depression and the first part of World War II. Olson led California through this difficult time with a progressive agenda known as Olson's "New Deal for California." 

His commanding personal presence landed him on the cover of Life magazine in 1938. The characteristic photo featured future Governor Olson with a cigar in his mouth, looking every inch the politico ready to govern. The article reported, "Culbert Levy Olson advances the progressive agenda in California and is known as the 'people's candidate'...Mr. Olson is a well-dressed, urbane, the elderly idol of western politics, and he looks like a movie star's projection of a governor. Thick white hair offsets his handsome, ruddy face. He likes to dress impeccably, smoke impeccably good cigars, and espouse impeccably progressive views." 

Culbert Olson admired, supported, and campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt. They became personal friends and talked about the possibility of Olson running as FDR's VP. 

Governor Olson was a crusader for the people. He fought for working class citizens, and he didn't care if his policies were unpopular with corporations, special interests, or organized religion. He was the first governor of California in the modern era to appoint an African American, Edwin L. Jefferson; a woman, Annette Adams; and a Latino, Adaulto Molina, to the California judiciary. This was revolutionary, and all three appointments shook up the racial and sexist sentiments that were prevalent. 

His future-thinking policies and his astounding courage built a foundation for the progressive political movement that is gaining traction today.

©2017 Dr. Craig West Wilkinson and Ms. Debra Deanne Olson (P)2021 Debra Deanne Olson

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Excellent biography, beautifully narrated

An interesting read for a California history buff or for those who take interest in how politics intertwine with religion in the United States. Fascinating tale that includes a detailed description of the religious background of Culbert Olson and of his successful political career as an atheist during a time when this was unheard of. The narration by Sean McElhiney is fluid and clear, it made the book a pleasure to listen to. A great listen - with something for everyone.