Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace

Books, Music, Art, Movies

Amazon.com: Books: Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950 (Americans and the California Dream)

I haven’t posted on my current read in a long, long time. Now’s as good a time as any. My problem with books is that I get too many going at one time. I have been reading this particular book since, I think, February. I get sidetracked too easily. I am also currently reading “Why people believe weird things” by Shermeer (which is also really good) and listening to (via audible and ipod) The Devil in the White City. More to come on those later.

On to Kevin Starr (California’s recently retired State Librarian). I had the honor to hear him speak a couple of months ago here at Santa Clara Universiy’s Orradre library. The thing about his talk that really struck me, having a background in literature, was that he felt that the lines between history and literature were very thin. I kind of have always felt the same way. It’s why I am really interested in history, and I love the individual stories that come out when you study history.

Which is why I love this book. Kevin Starr covers the forties in California by focusing in on individuals, or particular stories. The chapter I am reading now is about detectives and crime in L.A. during this time period. Reading it I get images of Sam Spade. I feel like I’m there. Another interesting chapter dealt with how Hollywood handled the World War Two, and how there were many movie stars that joined the military during the War because they felt the need to serve thier country. All in all, Starr really knows how to make history interesting. He is an excellent writer and I believe his background in literature really makes this book, and I’m sure the series, very enjoyable and very readable