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The Browns of California : the family dynasty that transformed a state and shaped a nation / Miriam Pawel.

By: Pawel, Miriam, 1958-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018Description: x, 483 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.Content type: text | still image Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781632867339; 1632867338.Subject(s): Brown family | Brown, Jerry, 1938- | Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996 | Governors -- California -- BiographyGenre/Form: Biographies.DDC classification: 979.4/05092 | B 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 Governor Jerry Brown's family dynasty. When Governor Jerry Brown finishes his fourth term at the end of 2018, he will have bookended his career as both the youngest and the oldest governor of California. He and his father Pat Brown will have governed the state for twenty-four years since 1959--almost half of the state's modern history. How did the Brown political dynasty arise, and what is its lasting impact? In The Browns of California, award-winning journalist and scholar Miriam Pawel brings to life four generations of the Brown family as a prism through which we view the history of the Union's thirty-first state. Through the family's colorful and significant principal players, she weaves a narrative that is essential to understanding California and the way it shapes the nation. This book gives new insights to those steeped in California history, offers a corrective for those who confuse stereotypes and legend for history, 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"-- Provided by publisher.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"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

California Book Award Gold Medal Winner * Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize * A Los Angeles Times Bestseller * San Francisco Chronicle 's "Best Books of the Year" List * Publishers Weekly Top Ten History Books for Fall * Berkeleyside Best Books of the Year * Shortlisted for NCIBA Golden Poppy Award

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.

"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 Governor Jerry Brown's family dynasty. When Governor Jerry Brown finishes his fourth term at the end of 2018, he will have bookended his career as both the youngest and the oldest governor of California. He and his father Pat Brown will have governed the state for twenty-four years since 1959--almost half of the state's modern history. How did the Brown political dynasty arise, and what is its lasting impact? In The Browns of California, award-winning journalist and scholar Miriam Pawel brings to life four generations of the Brown family as a prism through which we view the history of the Union's thirty-first state. Through the family's colorful and significant principal players, she weaves a narrative that is essential to understanding California and the way it shapes the nation. This book gives new insights to those steeped in California history, offers a corrective for those who confuse stereotypes and legend for history, 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"-- Provided by publisher.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface (p. ix)
  • The Mansion (p. 1)
  • 1 The Pioneer (p. 5)
  • 2 The Paris of America (p. 18)
  • 3 The Yell Leader (p. 28)
  • 4 The Roosevelt Democrat (p. 39)
  • 5 Forest Hill (p. 56)
  • 6 The Governor and the Seminarian (p. 75)
  • 7 Fiat Lux (p. 100)
  • 8 Down but Not Out (p. 112)
  • 9 "Water for People. For Living" (p. 130)
  • 10 The Turbulent Term (p. 147)
  • 11 The Browns of Los Angeles (p. 174)
  • 12 The Candidate (p. 195)
  • 13 The New Spirit (p. 212)
  • 14 Jerry and Cesar (p. 232)
  • 15 To the Moon and Back (p. 248)
  • 16 The Fall (p. 263)
  • 17 Winter Soldiers (p. 289)
  • 18 A Different Shade of Brown (p. 311)
  • 19 Oakland Ecopolis (p. 332)
  • 20 Son of Sacramento (p. 355)
  • 21 Second Chances (p. 371)
  • 22 Fiat Lux Redux (p. 384)
  • 23 Past as Prologue (p. 394)
  • The Mountain House (p. 412)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 421)
  • Bibliography (p. 425)
  • Notes (p. 431)
  • Index (p. 471)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

With previous works under her belt about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Pawel (The Crusades of Cesar Chavez) now turns her attention to California's prominent Brown family. While many other family members are discussed, the book focuses heavily on the father-son duo who would both become the state's governor-Pat and Jerry Brown. Starting from when the different branches of the Irish-German Catholic clan immigrated to the United States-and, subsequently, California-this book follows the rise and fall (and second rise, with Jerry) of the Browns' political fortunes. While clearly sympathetic to the Browns, Pawel is not an apologist for some of their less-popular actions or less-effective policies. She notes both the good and the bad, which makes for a refreshing read. VERDICT Well researched, with an extensive bibliography of primary sources, this work will appeal to both scholarly and armchair historians, as well as readers with an interest in contemporary politics, California history, modern history, family history, and biography.-Crystal Goldman, Univ. of California, San Diego Lib. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Pawel (The Crusades of Cesar Chavez) continues to explore the California political landscape with this well-written and deeply researched dual biography of the late Pat Brown, the state's governor from 1959 to 1967, and his son Jerry Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983 and reelected in 2011. The senior Brown is fairly described as a traditional politician whose career had a traditional trajectory, while son Jerry-called "Governor Moonbeam" by a Chicago newspaper columnist-is anything but: in addition to a peripatetic political career that included three runs at the Democratic presidential nomination, a term as California's attorney general, and time as the mayor of Oakland, Calif., Jerry's personal history involved formative years as a novice in a Jesuit seminary and a serious investigation of Buddhism. Pawel returns again and again to the connection between Pat and Jerry, who were respectful and tender toward one another despite their differences. She also underscores the powerful influence of women-specifically Bernice Brown, Pat's wife of 66 years and Jerry's mother; Anne Gust Brown, whom Jerry married late in life; and Jerry's sister Kathleen, who made her own run at California's governorship in 1994-in the two men's lives. The backdrop for all of this is the 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. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The Brown ""dynasty"" didn't dominate California's politics like the Kennedy family did in Massachusetts. But the family has played and continues to play significant roles in local and national politics. Pawel (The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, 2014) expertly mines family archives, oral histories, and interviews with contemporary sources to fully and for the first time chronicle the origins and accomplishments of this remarkable clan. The ""founder,"" August Schuckman, came to California in 1852, and he found success selling goods to miners rather than digging for gold. His grandson, Edmund ""Pat"" Brown, became governor in 1959. Pawel describes him as a natural politician whose enthusiasm, exuberance, and sociability meshed well with the can-do spirit of the rapidly expanding state. His son, Jerry, initially seemed cut from different cloth. He disdained the hurly-burly of political campaigns and entered a Jesuit seminary. But Jerry, with his eager, searching mind, found the seminary dogmatic and spirit crushing, and he made his way to politics after all. Elected governor in 1975, his unorthodox style and interests earned him the label ""Governor Moonbeam."" Pawel vividly and insightfully chronicles Jerry's two terms as governor, his years in the political wilderness, his rebirth as a progressive mayor of Oakland, and his return to the governorship. This fine and engaging political saga tracks both the Brown family and the growth of the state they have served.--Jay Freeman Copyright 2018 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A vivid portrait of California's land and people emerges from a sympathetic family biography.Drawing on interviews, oral histories, and extensive archival sources, journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Pawel (The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, 2014, etc.) examines California's colorful, dramatic, and turbulent history through her biography of the ambitious and influential Browns, a family indelibly involved in the state's fortunes since 1951, when Edmund G. "Pat" Brown (1905-1996) was sworn in as California's attorney general. A few years later, as he considered running for governor, he extolled his great state: "To think that I will have some part, good or bad, in shaping its destiny is sobering." A gregarious politician whose style of campaigning, his wife said, was "low comedy," in 1959 Brown succeeded in becoming California's 32nd governor, overseeing a period of exuberant economic and population expansion. His son, Jerry, however, seemed uninterested in following in his father's footsteps; instead, he entered a Jesuit seminary to study for the priesthood, which he saw as "a path to public serviceand an alternative to the commercial politics of his father's world." Yet after a few years, bristling against the mandate of "obedience to dogma" that quashed "his inquiring mind and spirit," he renounced his calling. Politics inevitably drew him: After law school, he won a seat on the Los Angeles school board; a year and a half later, he won election as secretary of state. In 1975 he became the 34thand youngestgovernor of California. Although Pawel chronicles the political career of Pat Brown's daughter Kathleen, who served as California State Treasurer, Jerry takes center stage for much of the book, as the author recounts his "refreshing" candor and unconventional leadership during his first two terms as governor, earning him the epithet of "Governor Moonbeam"; his years of soul-searching and recalibration after he was defeated in tries for the presidency; his return as defiant and spirited mayor of Oakland and, in 2010, to statewide power as California's 39thand oldestgovernor.A well-informed history of a powerful dynasty. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.