The Browns of California: Book summary and reviews of The Browns of California by Miriam Pawel

The Browns of California

The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation

by Miriam Pawel

The Browns of California by Miriam Pawel X
The Browns of California by Miriam Pawel

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Book Summary

A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley - told through the lens of the family dynasty that led the state for nearly a quarter century.

Even in the land of reinvention, the story is exceptional: Pat Brown, the beloved father who presided over California during an era of unmatched expansion; Jerry Brown, the cerebral son who became the youngest governor in modern times--and then returned three decades later as the oldest.

In The Browns of California, journalist and scholar Miriam Pawel weaves a narrative history that spans four generations, from August Schuckman, the Prussian immigrant who crossed the Plains in 1852 and settled on a northern California ranch, to his great-grandson Jerry Brown, who reclaimed the family homestead one hundred forty years later. Through the prism of their lives, we gain an essential understanding of California and an appreciation of its importance.

The magisterial story is enhanced by dozens of striking photos, many published for the first time. This book gives new insights to those steeped in California history, offers a corrective for those who confuse stereotypes and legend for fact, and opens new vistas for readers familiar with only the sketchiest outlines of a place habitually viewed from afar with a mix of envy and awe, disdain, and fascination.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] rich history of California, illuminated with small historical details that are a testament to Pawel's research. In her capable hands, readers will find the Browns and California captivating subjects." - Publishers Weekly

"This fine and engaging political saga tracks both the Brown family and the growth of the state they have served." - Booklist

"A well-informed history of a powerful dynasty." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Miriam Pawel

Miriam Pawel is the author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and California Book Award winner, and The Union of Their Dreams – Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez's Farm Worker Movement. She is a Pulitzer-prize winning editor and reporter who spent twenty-five years at Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Southern California.

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