California: Golden Dreams

The Times Literary Supplement has a fine essay on contemporary California. Michael Saler of UC Davis reviews Kevin Starr’s and William Vollman’s new social histories.

No other state has ever had a biographer like Kevin Starr, and his ’Golden Dreams: California in an age of abundance 1950-1963’ shows just how much has been lost in what Saler calls “the extravagant dysfunction of its current government.” Vollman’s ’Imperial’ examines that southeastern-most county and finds pungent metaphors for the entire state.

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