California An American History John Mack Faragher

Publication date:
14 Jun 2022
Yale University Press
480 pages: 203 x 140mm
44 b-w illus.
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A concise and lively history of California, the most multicultural state in the nation

California is the most multicultural state in the nation. As John Mack Faragher argues in this concise and lively history, that is nothing new. California's natural variety has always supported diversity, including Native peoples speaking dozens of distinct languages, Spanish and Mexican colonists, gold seekers from all corners of the globe, and successive migrant waves from the eastern states, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Beautifully crafted and elegantly written, Faragher tells the stories of a colorful cast of characters, some famous, others mostly unknown, including African American Archy Lee, who sued for his freedom; Sinkyone Indian woman Sally Bell, who survived genocide; and Jewish schoolgirl Marilyn Greene, who spoke up for her Japanese friends after Pearl Harbor. California's multicultural diversity often led to conflict, turmoil, and violence, but also to invention, improvisation, and a struggle for multicultural democracy.

John Mack Faragher is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he also serves as Director of the Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders. Faragher is the author of Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie and Women and Men on the Overland Trail, and the co-author of The American West: A New Interpretive History and Frontiers: a Short History of the American West. He lives in New Haven, CT.

“Faragher takes the reader on a captivating journey through myriad twists and turns of California’s multicultural history, enlivened by stories of people who rarely penetrate our traditional state chronicles.”—Carlos E. Cortés, University of California, Riverside

"It is often said that California has little history. But there’s nothing little about this beautifully illustrated and written book, which brilliantly distills the depth and diversity of California’s past."—Stephen Aron, Autry Museum of the American West

“With verve, clarity, and erudition, John Mack Faragher has wrestled California’s monumental, tragic, triumphant, immense history into a single volume. This is a superb book by one of our most insightful scholars of the far West.  A signal achievement."—William Deverell, Institute on California and the West

“John Mack Faragher understands the promise, and the heartbreak, of California. This is a wonderfully concentrated but comprehensive and evocative history of the most American of states.”—James Fallows, co-author of Our Towns