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Download California: A History Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample California: A History Audiobook, by Kevin Starr Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (271 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kevin Starr Narrator: Jonathan Davis Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Modern Library Chronicles Release Date: October 2005 ISBN: 9781440799488
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Acclaimed author, historian, and Guggenheim Fellow Kevin Starr is a professor at the University of Southern California. His extensive knowledge shines through this concise, yet comprehensive, depiction of the most fascinating aspects in California’s history. From its colonial beginnings through Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration, the Golden State has become a uniquely American phenomenon that has enchanted people with the possibility of a better life. In so doing, it has become a uniquely American phenomenon. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kevin Starr is one of California’s greatest historians, and California: A History is an invaluable contribution to our state’s record and lore.”

    Maria Shriver, former first lady of California

  • “[A] fast-paced and wide-ranging history…[Starr] accomplishes the feat with skill, grace, and verve.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “This straight, chronological history opens with a fascinating survey of the geology, climate, flora, and fauna of the region, and then the author provides interesting insights into the achievements and failings of Spanish and Mexican governance, while he pays particular attention to the sad fate of California’s indigenous peoples…Starr’s treatment of the topics such as the gold rush, the growth of high-tech industries, and the emergence of California as the center of the motion-picture industry is handled with great aplomb. For both general readers and those with a particular interest in regional history, this is an informative and enjoyable reading experience.”

    Booklist

  • “From Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Donner Party to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Kevin Starr captures the fullness of California history in one sweeping and masterful narrative. Starr is not only the Golden State’s greatest living chronicler, he is also one of its greatest treasures.”

    Gregory Rodríguez, senior fellow, New America Foundation, and contributing editor, Los Angeles Times

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Benjamin | 2/17/2014

    " Engaging and very informative concise history of California. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz Paegel | 2/12/2014

    " Great read, like riding a race horse through time. Entertaining, fast paced, and interesting "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/31/2014

    " Oh California! The sweeping history of the edge of America, compressed into a relatively short volume. As a single volume, you lose a huge amount, but you still get a lot: I was vaguely aware of the founding mythos and history of the state, but there's a lot between 1860 and 1990 that I didn't know, or didn't know much about. It will leave you wanting more -- whether that is frustrating or exciting is up to you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 1/25/2014

    " A solid one-volume brief history of California. The latter chapters seem thrown together, but otherwise this is a fast, smart read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Christian | 1/22/2014

    " This is Starr's most recent book on California history. I found it to be quite an easy read and much more enjoyable than the musty texts required in my college days. Starr writes for a wide audience, which I think is a good thing, and his only major flaw is that he sometimes seems to take short-cuts in researching his material. Still, a very good introduction to the history of our state. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Eggleton | 1/21/2014

    " Obviously it's a 1 volume history of California, and while I found it thoroughly interesting, I did find it tended to glaze over sections of history that I personally found deeply interesting, a good book for sure, essential reading for those starting out researching into the history of the region, but poor for those looking for intense detail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Yu | 1/21/2014

    " part two of two of my california education. look at meeeee i'm cali-smart! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zachary Martin | 1/20/2014

    " A bit too air brushed for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 12/23/2013

    " This is a straight up history book, but the amount of information about California is mind boggling. You have to pay attention to stay with this one, but it is well written and very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel Jones | 12/23/2013

    " Wow! Kevin Starr covers 250+ years of history here in just 350 pages and I don't feel like I missed a thing. The only reason this gets 4 stars instead of 5 is because it reads more like a textbook, when I think some personal anecdotes would have made this even more engrossing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marion Dickel | 12/22/2013

    " A little dry. Filled with lists of people - artists, politicians, etc. I need a more interesting history of CA to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carey | 12/2/2013

    " a readable and thorough history of Cali. I'm alway looking for readable and thorough histories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordin | 10/7/2013

    " Excellent introduction to California and its history. Brief, but that's the intention of the author. Plenty of opportunity for further inquiry if one desires. Worth reading to understand where/who all the locations, names, and streets that are all about us came from. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ambica Rajagopal | 6/17/2013

    " Well written hsitory of California. Surprising in some places to new comers to the history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Antun Karlovac | 6/6/2013

    " Fast-paced, enjoyable overview of California's history. I enjoyed the book a lot, although the only downside I find is that because it was such a fast read, I don't remember many details! Not that that is a bad thing necessarily, a relaxing overview to my state's history, this book did a good job. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 6/2/2013

    " Great overview of basic California history for a non-history person! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/11/2012

    " Quick and easy read on the history of California. This is a book I can easily read again and I look forward to referencing it while teaching my son California history next year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal | 10/11/2012

    " Pretty pretty good so far. Enough said boyeee! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 9/14/2012

    " Ever wondered about the history of the sunshine state? Starr examines the well known and not so well known elements of California. Including terrorist bombings in san francisco of the late 1800's early 1900's. Great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory | 6/2/2012

    " Mr. Starr was California state librarian, so it's not surprising that this light history sometimes reads like a bibliography. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 5/1/2012

    " Interesting fun history of California. Assigned as a text book but lots of fun info on the Imperial Valley "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bryce | 9/3/2011

    " Wonderful stories of the history of California. I was contemplating a move to the Bay Area at the time... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Riley | 6/20/2011

    " A concise 400 page book covering everything from the Spanish discovery of CA to the Governator. The book is neatly arranged by primarily by date, but also subcategorized into subtopic events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregory | 4/28/2011

    " this was a fascinating history of the development/design, building, and legacy of The Bridge; i will never look at it the same way again! quite a page-turner for a little (< 200 p.) history book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 3/2/2011

    " We just visited San Francisco and it included an obligatory visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. I was intrigued with the history of this area and this iconic bridge. Starr's history was just what I wanted: a short history of the bridge (less than 200 pages) that was interesting and informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/4/2011

    " Really accessible historical reading about one of my favorite sites "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 11/15/2010

    " This is a good introduction to the Golden Gate bridge. Mr. Starr spends more time talking about the surrounding events that caused the bridge to be built than the actual construction. However, it is a very enjoyable book, and a great introduction to the bridge. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristen | 9/8/2010

    " I was hoping to learn more information about the building of the Golden Gate bridge, but the author seemed to caught up in writing florid prose about how the bridge is an American icon, and I felt like a lot of the book trod in circles. It was not the book I was expecting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ross | 9/7/2010

    " Seemed like someone told him he had to write 200 pages and he just used the bridge as a loose theme around which he wandered aimlessly. Oh well, it wasn't much of a time investment. "

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About the Narrator

Jonathan Davis has received widespread critical acclaim for his narration in a variety of genres. He has won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration in 2009, 2011, and 2012, as well as being a finalist for an Audie in 2007, 2013, and three times in 2014. He has also garnered accolades from Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and AudioFile magazine and has earned more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards.