Journals Higher Education

$24.95

Paperback

13 November 1997

432 Pages | 42 b/w photos

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195118025


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Endangered Dreams

The Great Depression in California

Kevin Starr

Americans and the California Dream

In Endangered Dreams, Kevin Starr paints a portrait that is both detailed and panoramic, offering a vivid look at the personalities and events that shaped a decade of explosive tension. He begins with the rise of radicalism on the Pacific Coast, which erupted when the Great Depression swept over California in the 1930s. Starr captures the triumphs and tumult of the great agricultural strikes in the Imperial Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, Stockton, and Salinas, identifying the crucial role played by Communist organizers. The highpoint of social conflict, however, was 1934, the year of the coastwide maritime strike, and here Starr's narrative talents are at their best, as he brings to life the astonishing general strike that took control of San Francisco. And yet, the Depression also brought out the finest in Californians: state Democrats fought for a local New Deal; California natives helped care for more than a million impoverished migrants through public and private programs; artists movingly documented the impact of the Depression; and an unprecedented program of public works (capped by the Golden Gate Bridge) made the California we know today possible.
In capturing the powerful forces that swept the state during the 1930s, Starr weaves an insightful analysis into his narrative fabric. Out of a shattered decade of economic and social dislocation, he constructs a coherent whole and a mirror for understanding our own time.

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