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"Miriam Pawel’s fascinating book . . . illuminates the sea change in the nation’s politics in the last half of the 20th century."--New York Times Book Review A Los Angeles Times Bestseller Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley "Miriam Pawel’s fascinating book . . . illuminates the sea change in the nation’s politics in the last half of the 20th century."--New York Times Book Review A Los Angeles Times Bestseller Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall 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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"Miriam Pawel’s fascinating book . . . illuminates the sea change in the nation’s politics in the last half of the 20th century."--New York Times Book Review A Los Angeles Times Bestseller Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley "Miriam Pawel’s fascinating book . . . illuminates the sea change in the nation’s politics in the last half of the 20th century."--New York Times Book Review A Los Angeles Times Bestseller Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall 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.

30 review for The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    This is the kind of book you want to have read but you don't really want to read. I wish somehow the information contained in the book could be injected into my brain. I think it was a really good, accurate and historically important book all about the Brown family and their great governors and the state of California. I just didn't want to read it any more than I wanted to read my American history books when I was in high school. The fault is mine, not the book's. This is the kind of book you want to have read but you don't really want to read. I wish somehow the information contained in the book could be injected into my brain. I think it was a really good, accurate and historically important book all about the Brown family and their great governors and the state of California. I just didn't want to read it any more than I wanted to read my American history books when I was in high school. The fault is mine, not the book's.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    As a native resident of our greatest state of California I was thrilled to receive this book for review. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. I have admired the Brown family for generations and applaud their efforts on behalf of our great state. This is a definitive guide to the Brown family from a historical aspect to present day. I appreciated the well researched information and family history that brought the Brown's to California politics. It is a exciting read and one that I would As a native resident of our greatest state of California I was thrilled to receive this book for review. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. I have admired the Brown family for generations and applaud their efforts on behalf of our great state. This is a definitive guide to the Brown family from a historical aspect to present day. I appreciated the well researched information and family history that brought the Brown's to California politics. It is a exciting read and one that I would highly recommend to all classrooms and for those interested in California history . The Browns of California by Miriam Pawel from Bloomsbury Publishing is exemplary writing. The author's documented history is meticulous . The research includes family archives , diaries, photos and personal interviews. We learn the history of Jerry Brown's great-grandfather August Schuckman's journey from Prussia to California. We learn of the impact of August's grandson, great grandson and great granddaughter. This entire family mutually does work for California and it's people and continues to do so today. We learn of how hard they had to fight for California against the GOP and Reagan's poor decisions. We see their devotion to duty and patriotism as integral to who they are. We learn of the policies and bills they have championed for California over the years that were great assets to our state. This is a fascinating read and a book to keep in your personal library. I will highly recommend this book and plan on buying hardback copies for gifts. A very outstanding book,. This is my honest review and opinions are my own personal opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pomerance

    For anybody interested in the history of California, this is a must-read, because the history of the Brown family IS the history of California. I have always found Jerry Brown to be a fascinating character, but there was so much I didn't know about the rest of the family. Pawel has done an extraordinary job bringing the Browns to life. Definitely recommend this absorbing book! For anybody interested in the history of California, this is a must-read, because the history of the Brown family IS the history of California. I have always found Jerry Brown to be a fascinating character, but there was so much I didn't know about the rest of the family. Pawel has done an extraordinary job bringing the Browns to life. Definitely recommend this absorbing book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    It sounded like an interesting read: I have Pawel's other book on Cesar Chavez ('The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography') although I have not read it, being somewhat intimidated by the size and not being that familiar with Chavez. This came through my library queue and also required to move this up since there's a wait list. However, I'm not sure this really worked and found it very difficult to get through. The book is very much what it says on the tin: the story of the Brown family (Jerry is It sounded like an interesting read: I have Pawel's other book on Cesar Chavez ('The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography') although I have not read it, being somewhat intimidated by the size and not being that familiar with Chavez. This came through my library queue and also required to move this up since there's a wait list. However, I'm not sure this really worked and found it very difficult to get through. The book is very much what it says on the tin: the story of the Brown family (Jerry is currently the Governor of California) and how they changed the state. It's really a story of a changing California as the author traces the Brown family and especially their political careers in various elected offices around the state. Interwoven is also the greater historical events and a changing California. Honestly, the history of California was far more interesting to me than the Brown family. I am somewhat familiar with each of them (and as Jerry is still in office this some of this info really wasn't new to me), but I found it more interesting to see how they fit (or not) in a rapidly changing California. I'm not entirely sure the dynasty is what transformed the state rather than the other aspects of it: the rise of Silicon Valley, the effects of greater national events on the state, the political shift of California itself, etc. The book felt like it needed a lot more editing. One of the criticisms of her Chavez book that is referenced above is that it feels like a bunch of facts and not a story, which I think is the same issue here. Bits of the book are interesting but sometimes it goes on too long on some topics and it does feel rather disjointed. It just didn't keep my attention. I really do think a lot of journalists are much better suited to article-length pieces and that holds here. While there was obviously a lot of research to book it needed a stronger editor to put it in a more cohesive narrative. I didn't mind borrowing it but ultimately I got to the point where I was just skimming because it was much too long. Library borrow was best for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation by Miriam Pawel from Bloomsbury Publishing is an amazing, knockout of a book. It is excellently written and excellently researched. Ms Pawel's research used family archives and diaries, photos and personal interviews. She takes you from Jerry Brown's great-grandfather August Schuckman's journey from Prussia to California during the gold rush working several jobs to buy his piece of the American dream. She c The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation by Miriam Pawel from Bloomsbury Publishing is an amazing, knockout of a book. It is excellently written and excellently researched. Ms Pawel's research used family archives and diaries, photos and personal interviews. She takes you from Jerry Brown's great-grandfather August Schuckman's journey from Prussia to California during the gold rush working several jobs to buy his piece of the American dream. She covers both the history of the family and the state beautifully in an engaging way. The Browns have been an important part of California 's history and after reading this you will see what a different place California would be without the impact of August's grandson, great grandson and great granddaughter at the state's helm. This family seems to genuinely work for California and it's people. Pat Brown brought California water and roads. He was a strong proponent of the state's education system and worked to keep tuition free at UC campuses (until the 80's despite Gov Reagan's strong fight earlier to charge tuition). Jerry championed and saw passage of the California Agriculture Labor Relations Act and had worked for education reform. There is so much more to learn in this impossible to put down book. It could easily make a great mini series. Thank you NetGalley, Miriam Pawel and Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to read an ARC. This is my honest review and opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janet Lynch

    I loved this book! Pat Brown was the governor of California most of my childhood, and my parents, especially my dad, were ardent supporters. His vision of the UCs and State Universities was free education for all Californians. He also recognized such a huge state needed a master plan for distributing water, and he got the job done. This book spoke of a time when people went into politics to help others not just to gain power and keep that power even if it meant hurting people and supporting a ly I loved this book! Pat Brown was the governor of California most of my childhood, and my parents, especially my dad, were ardent supporters. His vision of the UCs and State Universities was free education for all Californians. He also recognized such a huge state needed a master plan for distributing water, and he got the job done. This book spoke of a time when people went into politics to help others not just to gain power and keep that power even if it meant hurting people and supporting a lying, ignorant narcissist who bumbled his way into the White House. Democrats and Republicans were friendly with one another and seemed to want similar things, believing that the poor sometimes need help and that immigrants are what make our state diverse and strong rather than an invasion of criminals. This is also a history of California, mainly of the second half of the last century, and made me proud to be a native Californian. We are the sixth largest economy in the world, and LA country alone, with over 10 million people, is more populous than 41 states. This book demonstrates that California is big and strong enough to pursue green energy, affordable college, and humane treatment to all residents, even if our president is too immoral to care.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    The Brown family is Pawel's literary device to bring 150 years of selected California history together. For the most part her approach works and there is much to learn about the state's development from the Gold Rush to today. There are surprises such as reading about Governor Pat Brown's concerns in the mid-50s--ethnic and racial discrimination, population growth outstripping services, degradation of the environment, the widening gap between rich and poor-- and seeing today's problems in the mi The Brown family is Pawel's literary device to bring 150 years of selected California history together. For the most part her approach works and there is much to learn about the state's development from the Gold Rush to today. There are surprises such as reading about Governor Pat Brown's concerns in the mid-50s--ethnic and racial discrimination, population growth outstripping services, degradation of the environment, the widening gap between rich and poor-- and seeing today's problems in the mirror. What I found lacking is more understanding of the characters themselves. I was fascinated by what little I learned about the family patriarch, August Schuckman, who emigrated from Prussia in 1852. The author refers in the latter pages of the book to a diary he kept. I would have liked more insights from it. He seemed to be adept and skilled at building up his assets and making his mark. I get the feeling that she did not have access to Jerry Brown, the now retired Governor. Hence the text feels somewhat bloodless. Nevertheless anyone interested in the history of California's governance will find this book worthwhile.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    THE BROWNS OF CALIFORNIA by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Miriam Pawel is one of Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall, for good reason. This absorbing read takes us through California’s glorious past from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley, viewed through the scrim of the Brown dynasty at Cali’s helm for 25 years. In this incisive narrative, we learn of four family generations ... from August Schuckman, a Prussian immigrant who settled on a northern California ranch in 1852 after tr THE BROWNS OF CALIFORNIA by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Miriam Pawel is one of Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall, for good reason. This absorbing read takes us through California’s glorious past from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley, viewed through the scrim of the Brown dynasty at Cali’s helm for 25 years. In this incisive narrative, we learn of four family generations ... from August Schuckman, a Prussian immigrant who settled on a northern California ranch in 1852 after traversing the Plains ... to great-grandson Jerry Brown, the youngest governor in modern times and the oldest three decades later. The author posits this axiom: as go the Browns, so goes California. Reading this fine historical portrait of an exceptional family provides invaluable insights into the California we know today. Highly recommended! Thanks to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are fully mine. #TheBrownsOfCalifornia#NetGalley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Colorful, broad history of (mostly) Jerry and Pat Brown. This book fills in many blanks about the Browns and provides a lot of California and family history. Personally, I came of age as Jerry became prominent and never knew much about Pat and his work beyond founding the UC system. There is a lot more to him. While fascinating and a great read, it breezes through many, many topics in 450 or so pages. It is perhaps, too tightly edited. It also appears to be written with the full cooperation of t Colorful, broad history of (mostly) Jerry and Pat Brown. This book fills in many blanks about the Browns and provides a lot of California and family history. Personally, I came of age as Jerry became prominent and never knew much about Pat and his work beyond founding the UC system. There is a lot more to him. While fascinating and a great read, it breezes through many, many topics in 450 or so pages. It is perhaps, too tightly edited. It also appears to be written with the full cooperation of the family, and isn't very critical -- it is an objective, journalistic book. Several, more definitive books need to come out. Meanwhile, this book takes its place among the really good California history books (i.e. Kevin Starr's books, Joan Didion etc).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Banks

    This was an informative portrait of the Brown family that produced two notable governors Edmund “Pat” Brown and Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr, This family has its roots in California history beginning with the Gold Rush. I was fascinated by the strong individuals both women and men whose members who followed California history and also shaped it. Pavel focused on the two Brown governors who were and are influential and complex men. I would recommend this well written book for those who want to learn more This was an informative portrait of the Brown family that produced two notable governors Edmund “Pat” Brown and Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr, This family has its roots in California history beginning with the Gold Rush. I was fascinated by the strong individuals both women and men whose members who followed California history and also shaped it. Pavel focused on the two Brown governors who were and are influential and complex men. I would recommend this well written book for those who want to learn more about California history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    This book is definitely not for everyone. But for those with an interest in California politics and history, this is an interesting and well-written account of the Brown family. Most of the focus is on Pat and Jerry (I found the chapters on Jerry’s time in the Jesuit seminary particularly interesting in how it shaped his personality and policies) but Kathleen also gets a chapter (and I knew very little about her).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    A well written, compelling history of not just the Brown family, but of California. Much of the book deals with The political development of Jerry Brown. A 4.5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Tracing the history of a state and the family that helped shape it, is an incredibly daunting task, especially given the volume of players at stake. Pawel writes clearly and is able to concisely give the history of a number of laws, elections, personal relationships and educational pursuits that paint vivid portraits of each of the Brown members featured, but also of California. The narrative is strong in providing an understanding of how we got to where we are right now, and how this family duc Tracing the history of a state and the family that helped shape it, is an incredibly daunting task, especially given the volume of players at stake. Pawel writes clearly and is able to concisely give the history of a number of laws, elections, personal relationships and educational pursuits that paint vivid portraits of each of the Brown members featured, but also of California. The narrative is strong in providing an understanding of how we got to where we are right now, and how this family ducked into and out of the policies that shaped it. Further, understanding the personalities of each family member enriches the story, and, to me, showed how inventive and multi-faceted this single family was in their striving to make California a leading state. The book mostly focuses on Jerry Brown, who is this amazingly curious, self-possessed and introspective person. He amazingly found a role in government that not only informed his own coming of age, but the states’ as well. It was an added bonus to get the inter-generational lessons that come from working in the same industry as parents and siblings - they all informed each other and became more whole because of it. Loved this book, and miss Jerry Brown all the more because of it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marc Ballon

    Miriam Pawel's "The Browns of California" is astonishing in its breadth, scope and engagement. I knew little about Pat and Jerry Brown and the other members of the Brown family before I started this seminal work, even though I'm a California native. Pawel took this reader on a historical tour de force of the nation's most dynamic and innovative state and did so in a gripping and lucid manner. If only all works of history could read like this. I cannot recommend this work highly enough, especiall Miriam Pawel's "The Browns of California" is astonishing in its breadth, scope and engagement. I knew little about Pat and Jerry Brown and the other members of the Brown family before I started this seminal work, even though I'm a California native. Pawel took this reader on a historical tour de force of the nation's most dynamic and innovative state and did so in a gripping and lucid manner. If only all works of history could read like this. I cannot recommend this work highly enough, especially for anyone with even a passing interest in California's vibrant, rich history. Must read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sep

    It is interesting to read an autobiography and history of a time period I lived through. This book covers both governor Browns, Edmund Sr. and Jr. (always called Jerry). The description of California and especially San Francisco politics was filled with anecdotes and commentary that blended well and read as smoothly as a novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This book purports to describe a portion of California history through the lens of the Brown family and to some extent it succeeds. I certainly learned a fair bit of California history and a good deal about Pat and Jerry Brown. Yet the book felt surprising flat. Neither Pat nor Jerry Brown came to life as individuals and the history, which covers important parts of the state history, seemed cursory, as events went quickly by without much analysis or insight. While I found the book reasonably int This book purports to describe a portion of California history through the lens of the Brown family and to some extent it succeeds. I certainly learned a fair bit of California history and a good deal about Pat and Jerry Brown. Yet the book felt surprising flat. Neither Pat nor Jerry Brown came to life as individuals and the history, which covers important parts of the state history, seemed cursory, as events went quickly by without much analysis or insight. While I found the book reasonably interesting I kept feeling that it should have fascinating, the material was certainly there. But the author never went deep enough to move beyond the mildly interesting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Outstanding. As a native CA who has also never lived outside the State, although I have lived in 4 different counties, this book was a fascinating ride through political and social history. The sad part is that we are still fighting about the same damn things we were 40 years ago: climate, poverty, education access/equality. Like father like son, their values were extraordinary for public servants, at least compared to today. Sure they made some decisions that in hindsight turned out to be terri Outstanding. As a native CA who has also never lived outside the State, although I have lived in 4 different counties, this book was a fascinating ride through political and social history. The sad part is that we are still fighting about the same damn things we were 40 years ago: climate, poverty, education access/equality. Like father like son, their values were extraordinary for public servants, at least compared to today. Sure they made some decisions that in hindsight turned out to be terrible. They were transparent and, at least in Jerry's case, he took subsequent opportunities to address those decisions. In general, their core intent was to help those whom the powerful often neglected. Pg 99: "...Pat later recalled I'd pray for the most forgotten soul in the State of California. That somewhere, the works that I did would reach out, and reach that most forgotten soul in California. Pg 221: Under Jerry's tenure, "Ed Roberts, a paralyzed polio victim who crusaded for the rights of the disabled, became head of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation-an agency that had once deemed Roberts too disabled to hold a job." Jerry considered it not a sign of glory but of failure that the UC law schools were among the top 10 in the country, asking "...But I look at the law schools and I ask myself, how does that affect the least of the people who live in this society?" [pg 227/28] I'm quite sure this is the longest book I have ever read: it was worth it and a great way to start off 2021.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    This is a broad, great history of mostly Pat and Jerry Brown. Also, it is a story of their immigrant heritage, Jesuit background, and the story of California. The issues California faced with water, its startling growth, and its rise to become the most populous state are covered. So are all of the actors, business people of the day, and politicians. This book also revealed something I did not know, but should have known. How politicians are often cozy with the wealthy. The author was not always This is a broad, great history of mostly Pat and Jerry Brown. Also, it is a story of their immigrant heritage, Jesuit background, and the story of California. The issues California faced with water, its startling growth, and its rise to become the most populous state are covered. So are all of the actors, business people of the day, and politicians. This book also revealed something I did not know, but should have known. How politicians are often cozy with the wealthy. The author was not always ostentatious but both the Browns were very privileged. And many opportunities just came their way. Another interesting fact, Pat Brown after his political career made a good fortune working for an Indonesian dictator. Once when Jerry Brown was asked about the dissonance between his personal finances and political virtues he said "you got me." California's new governor, Gavin Newsom, also has powerful friends, the Getty family. Money and politics, even if you are a liberal, are intertwined. Nonetheless, when Jerry Brown ran for President, his slogan was Protect the Earth; Save the People; and Explore the Universe. That sounds very Californian and appeals to me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike Hagerty

    If you are, were or are about to be a Californian, you should read this book. I'm a native who spent the middle 36 years of his life out of state, and this puts into perspective California's massive growth in the 20th century, the circumstances and policies that brought it about and the very different approaches and thought processes of the two Governor Browns (Pat and Jerry), as well as that of Ronald Reagan in between. It also examines the 21st century California that Jerry Brown governed in hi If you are, were or are about to be a Californian, you should read this book. I'm a native who spent the middle 36 years of his life out of state, and this puts into perspective California's massive growth in the 20th century, the circumstances and policies that brought it about and the very different approaches and thought processes of the two Governor Browns (Pat and Jerry), as well as that of Ronald Reagan in between. It also examines the 21st century California that Jerry Brown governed in his historic second eight-year tenure in Sacramento (inheriting a record deficit and leaving office with a record surplus). More than anything, though, it reminded me of how it felt to be a Californian when I was here the first time (birth through age 21). We've always been a forward-thinking place, and just about every new idea brought derision at first. Thirty years later, it was usually standard practice taken for granted even in the Deep South and Midwest. And Jerry Brown was/is that kind of thinker. The "Moonbeam" thing was a bad rap.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jo Stafford

    I was somewhat disappointed with The Browns of California. Sure, there's a lot of information in its pages about the Brown family, particularly the governorships of Pat and Jerry, but there's very little assessment of their policies and their impacts on the Golden State. There's a difference between describing a politician's policies and actions, and examining and analyzing that politician's programs and legislative agenda. Miriam Pawel does well with the former but falls short on the latter. He I was somewhat disappointed with The Browns of California. Sure, there's a lot of information in its pages about the Brown family, particularly the governorships of Pat and Jerry, but there's very little assessment of their policies and their impacts on the Golden State. There's a difference between describing a politician's policies and actions, and examining and analyzing that politician's programs and legislative agenda. Miriam Pawel does well with the former but falls short on the latter. Her coverage of Pat Brown's governorship, in particular, would have benefited from a more analytical approach. Still, I learnt a great deal about California history which shed light on the state's present. It's a pity that Pawel passed up an opportunity to produce a more substantial work.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This friendly, but not uncritical biography of the Brown family, the California political dynasty, portrays the family's political story against the evolution of California over the past century and one-half. Pawel goes beyond the monikers of "The Master Builder" (Pat Brown) and "Governor Moonbeam" (Jerry Brown) to render a more complete picture of each man, their politics, and their times. The book also gives due to Kathleen Brown, the former State Treasurer whose principled stand on immigratio This friendly, but not uncritical biography of the Brown family, the California political dynasty, portrays the family's political story against the evolution of California over the past century and one-half. Pawel goes beyond the monikers of "The Master Builder" (Pat Brown) and "Governor Moonbeam" (Jerry Brown) to render a more complete picture of each man, their politics, and their times. The book also gives due to Kathleen Brown, the former State Treasurer whose principled stand on immigration policy may have lost her the 1994 gubernatorial election. All in all, this is a good read about an important chapter of modern American political history and a worthy addition to any biography enthusiast's collection.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    Terrific read. California doesn’t always get good press and consequently Americans’ views of the state are often skewed. Also, the media doesn’t seem to cover the West coast as much as the East coast. By reading this book, I not only learned a lot more about the state, but also the Browns’. I came to a much greater understanding and appreciation of Jerry, who appears hit his peak in his70’s while governing the state for his 3rd and 4th terms. I never knew he was mayor of Oakland and Attorney Gene Terrific read. California doesn’t always get good press and consequently Americans’ views of the state are often skewed. Also, the media doesn’t seem to cover the West coast as much as the East coast. By reading this book, I not only learned a lot more about the state, but also the Browns’. I came to a much greater understanding and appreciation of Jerry, who appears hit his peak in his70’s while governing the state for his 3rd and 4th terms. I never knew he was mayor of Oakland and Attorney General before becoming governor in his later years. The author does a great job of tying the history of the state and the Brown family history together for a very readable and enjoyable story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Shoji

    As a native and life-long Californian I've lived a great deal of the time covered in this book and witnessed and lived the changes mentioned. This is not only a book about a political dynasty but a story about California's history. The book is well-written, well-researched, and weaves the socioeconomic, cultural, and political developments of the times with this family who was the catalyst for change. It is remarkable how the author managed to obtain access to all this information and put histor As a native and life-long Californian I've lived a great deal of the time covered in this book and witnessed and lived the changes mentioned. This is not only a book about a political dynasty but a story about California's history. The book is well-written, well-researched, and weaves the socioeconomic, cultural, and political developments of the times with this family who was the catalyst for change. It is remarkable how the author managed to obtain access to all this information and put history into context. For anyone who wants to really understand California, this book is a must-read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    A sweeping overview of California history going back in time& through Silicon Valley.The Brownsfamily history is directly connected to California history they play an integral part in the story of this state up till today as Jerry Brown is the Governor.A fascinating so well written look at this family and the state of [email protected] @bloomsburypublishers,

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Loved the whole "Browns in California" ancestry trip. Pat Brown was before my time, but I lived in CA in Jerry's first and second governorship and in Bay Area when he was Oakland Mayor. This book does a good job of covering how well he handled the CA problems...and why he did not gain traction in his Presidential aspirations. Worth a read for anyone interested in political service. Loved the whole "Browns in California" ancestry trip. Pat Brown was before my time, but I lived in CA in Jerry's first and second governorship and in Bay Area when he was Oakland Mayor. This book does a good job of covering how well he handled the CA problems...and why he did not gain traction in his Presidential aspirations. Worth a read for anyone interested in political service.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grindy Stone

    A better survey of California history post-WW2 than it is a biography, one never gets a sense of what made the Browns (Pat & Jerry, though Kathleen is in the book) tick. If anything, this book tells us that what we need is a solid biography of Jerry Brown - someone needs to give him the Robert Moses treatment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marylee Lannan

    I often felt I was in a foreign country when I lived in NC. Reading this reminded me that in a sense I was. Pat’s signature is on my BA diploma. I voted for Jerry the first time he was governor (moved north before he ran again). This was a real trip down memory lane for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Connor Stack

    I found the first 25% or so really interesting (up to maybe 1950). Then the pace really slowed down and got bogged down in political maneuvering. And realized that maybe I'm not really interested in this topic. I found the first 25% or so really interesting (up to maybe 1950). Then the pace really slowed down and got bogged down in political maneuvering. And realized that maybe I'm not really interested in this topic.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Warren Gossett

    My review is a plea for indulgence. I loved this book about the governors Pat and Jerry Brown and their family. The grand story intersects in many ways with my young days in California. And carries on to the present moments.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Saxton

    I remember so many of the incidents she records making the comments about them more meaningful. Really enjoyed this as Jerry Brown is a great governor hero to me. This makes a fine addition to the story of his years in power.

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