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A concise and lively history of California, the most multicultural state in the nation
“A masterful history.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“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
California is the most multicultural state in America. As John Mack Faragher explains in this new history, California’s natural variety has always supported such 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 United States and from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
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 the attack on Pearl Harbor. California’s diversity has often led to conflict, turmoil, and violence but also to invention, improvisation, and a struggle to achieve multicultural democracy.

  • 480 pages
  • Softcover