4 out of 4 stars
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If you love history, especially that of American states and their developments, then you are in for a treat. California answers all the questions you have ever had regarding the state of California, ranging from its dimensions to its political and economic history and development. It describes the political and economic history of California dating back to as early as 1300 BC. In this description, you learn of the Northwestern tribes, the Central tribes and the Southern tribes and how, if any, their interactions were like. You also learn the precise dimensions of the state of California and the climatic and geological developments of it.
The thing I loved most about Ronald Genini's writing is the order in which he has arranged the events narrated in California. He starts us off with general inormation regarding California, which includes its size, geographic location, economy and climate. This enables you to understand the state first before you delve into its history. The history is also then told in the correct chronology as it happened which eases understanding and general enjoyment of the book.
"The more things change, the more they remain the same." This is a line extracted from the book and one that is the foundation of history and the study of it. It is also one that the author used to justify the importance of learning the history of California as well as its implication. This is to say that everything seems to recur and that is why studying history enables us to prevent certain disasters or embrace and learn from certain past achievements. The author used this to state that as different as California was in the past, things are currently more or less the same as they were even in present California, especially politically and economically, which makes this book informative of the present as it is of the past of the state.
I also loved and appreciated the themes that the author highlighted on. For instance, he wrote, " ...against human greed, laziness, and stupidity, there aren't any defenses." This was a major theme in the book as he talked of the greed, corruption and laziness present in the history of California that may have derailed the growth and development of the state. He, however, also mentions the flip side of it as he talks of the strength, hardwork and resilience of the California people which enabled them to grow to where they are currently.
The only weakness, if it is even one, that I found with the book was that it used a lot of technical and historical terms that forced me to me going back to the dictionaries and encyclopedias. For example, the Cenozoic era (geological) is referred to a lot which may deter a reader that is not interested in learning such terms and phrases.
In general, it was a very wonderful, informative and entertaining read. I take great pleasure in awarding the book 4 out of 4 stars given that I found very few grammatical errors in it. I highly recommend it to all lovers of history and historical books.
California: On the Edge of American History
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