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Calexico Cover

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Calexico

True Lives of the Borderlands

Peter Laufer

These days everyone has something to say (or declaim!) about the U.S.–Mexico border. Whether it’s immigration, resource management, educational policy, or drugs, the borderlands are either the epicenter or the emblem of a current crisis facing the nation. At a time when the region has been co-opted for every possible rhetorical use, what endures is a resilient and vibrant local culture that resists easy characterization. For an honest picture of life on the border, what remains is to listen to voices that are too often drowned out: the people who actually live and work there, who make their homes and livings amid a confluence of cultures and loyalties. For many of these people, the border is less a hyphenated place than a meeting place, a merging. This aspect of the border is epitomized in the names of two cities that straddle the line: Calexico and Mexicali.

A “sleepy crossroads that exists at a global flashpoint,” Calexico serves as the reference point for veteran journalist Peter Laufer’s chronicle of day-to-day life on the border. This wide-ranging, interview-driven book finds Laufer and travel companion/photographer on a weeklong road trip through the Imperial Valley and other border locales, engaging in earnest and revealing conversations with the people they meet along the way. Laufer talks to secretaries and politicians, restaurateurs and salsa dancers, poets and real estate agents about the issues that matter to them the most.

What draws them to border towns? How do they feel about border security and the fences that may someday run through their backyards? Is “English-only” a realistic policy? Why have some towns flourished and others declined? What does it mean to be Mexican or American in such a place? Waitress Bonnie Peterson banters with customers in Spanish and English. Mayor Lewis Pacheco laments the role that globalization has played in his city’s labor market. Some of their anecdotes are humorous, others grim. Moreover, not everyone agrees. But this very diversity is part of the fabric of the borderlands, and these stories demand to be heard.

Califia Women Cover

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Califia Women

Feminist Education against Sexism, Classism, and Racism

By Clark A. Pomerleau

A dynamic exploration of the Califia Community, a long-running Los Angeles-based grassroots alternative education group formed in the mid-1970s, whose richly diverse membership offered a compelling array of responses to feminism’s key issues.

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California Condors in the Pacific Northwest

Jesse D'Elia and Susan M. Haig

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California Crucible

The Forging of Modern American Liberalism

By Jonathan Bell

In the three decades following World War II, the Golden State was not only the fastest-growing state in the Union but also the site of significant political change. From the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, a generation of liberal activists transformed the political landscape of California, ending Republican dominance of state politics and eventually setting the tone for the Democratic Party nationwide.

In California Crucible, Jonathan Bell chronicles this dramatic story of postwar liberalism—from early grassroots organizing and the election of Pat Brown as governor in 1958 to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and the campaigns against the New Right in the 1970s. As Bell argues, the emergent "California liberalism" was a distinctly post-New Deal phenomenon that drew on the ambitious ideals of the New Deal but adapted them to a diverse population. The result was a broad coalition that sought to extend social democracy to marginalized groups—such as gay rights and civil rights organizations—that had not been well served by the Democratic Party in earlier decades. In building this coalition, liberal activists forged an ideology capable of bringing Latino farm workers, African American civil rights activists, and wealthy suburban homemakers into a shared political project.

By exploring California Democrats' largely successful attempts to link economic rights to civil rights and serve the needs of diverse groups, Bell challenges common assumptions about the rise of the New Right and the decline of American liberalism in the postwar era. As Bell shows, by the end of the 1970s California had become the spiritual home of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party as much as that of the Reagan Revolution.

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California Cuisine and Just Food

Sally K. Fairfax, Louise Nelson Dyble, Greig Tor Guthey, Lauren Gwin, Monica Moore, and Jennifer Sokolove

An account of the shift in focus to access and fairness among San Francisco Bay Area alternative food activists and advocates.

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California Dreaming

Ideology, Society, and Technology in the Citrus Industry of Palestine, 1890-1939

Multidisciplinary study of the citrus industry in Palestine before World War II. The citrus industry of Palestine has often been associated with the myths and ideals of the Labor Movement and its Zionist-Socialist ideology. The Jaffa orange, like the young pioneer and the collective kibbutz, was emblematic of a colonizing meta-narrative that marginalized or even denounced the private entrepreneurs—both Arabs and Jews—who were the true founders and proponents of the flourishing citrus industry in Palestine. California Dreaming reveals that these private entrepreneurs regarded the California citrus industry as their primary model of emulation. Utilizing an innovative multidisciplinary approach, Nahum Karlinsky vividly reconstructs the social fabric, economic structure, and ideological tenets of the Jewish citrus industry of Palestine in the early twentieth century. Also accentuated is the role of Palestinian-Arab citrus growers, whose industry predated that of their Jewish counterparts, and the complex relationship between the two national sectors that operated side by side.

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California Indian Languages

Victor Golla

Nowhere was the linguistic diversity of the New World more extreme than in California, where an extraordinary variety of village-dwelling peoples spoke seventy-eight mutually unintelligible languages. This comprehensive illustrated handbook, a major synthesis of more than 150 years of documentation and study, reviews what we now know about California’s indigenous languages. Victor Golla outlines the basic structural features of more than two dozen language types, and cites all the major sources, both published and unpublished, for the documentation of these languages—from the earliest vocabularies collected by explorers and missionaries, to the data amassed during the twentieth-century by Alfred Kroeber and his colleagues, and to the extraordinary work of John P. Harrington and C. Hart Merriam. Golla also devotes chapters to the role of language in reconstructing prehistory, and to the intertwining of the language and culture in pre-contact California societies, making this work, the first of its kind, an essential reference on California’s remarkable Indian languages.

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California on the Breadlines

Dorothea Lange, Paul Taylor, and the Making of a New Deal Narrative

Jan Goggans

California on the Breadlines is the compelling account of how Dorothea Lange, the Great Depression’s most famous photographer, and Paul Taylor, her labor economist husband, forged a relationship that was private—they both divorced spouses to be together—collaborative, and richly productive. Lange and Taylor poured their considerable energies into the decade-long project of documenting the plight of California’s dispossessed, which in 1939 culminated in the publication of their landmark book, American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion. Jan Goggans blends biography, literature, and history to retrace the paths that brought Lange and Taylor together. She shows how American Exodus set forth a new way of understanding those in crisis during the economic disaster in California and ultimately informed the way we think about the Great Depression itself.

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California Polyphony

Ethnic Voices, Musical Crossroads

Mina Yang

What does it mean to be "Californian"? Mina Yang suggests an answer that lies at the intersection of musicology, cultural history, and politics. Consisting of a series of musical case studies of major ethnic groups in California, this book approaches the notion of Californian identity from diverse perspectives, each nuanced by class, gender, and sexuality. This most populous and most affluent state in the Union has been setting musical and cultural trends for decades, and Yang's study thoughtfully illuminates the multiculutral nature of its musics.

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California Rising

The Life and Times of Pat Brown

Ethan Rarick

It is now commonplace to say that the future happens first in California, and this book, the first biography of legendary governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, tells the story of the pivotal era when that idea became a reality. Set against the riveting historical landscape of the late fifties and sixties, the book offers astute insights into history as well a fascinating glimpse of those who charted its course—including Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and the Brown family dynasty. Ethan Rarick mines an impressive array of untapped sources—such as Pat Brown's diary and love letters to his wife—to tell the unforgettable story of a true mover-and-shaker within his fascinating and turbulent political arena.

California Rising illuminates a singular moment in time with surprising intimacy. John Kennedy laughs with Pat Brown. Richard Nixon offers the governor a schemer's deal. Lyndon Johnson sweet-talks the governor on the phone and then ridicules him behind his back. And as context for the human drama, key events of the era unfold in gripping prose. There is Brown's struggle with the fate of Caryl Chessman, the convicted kidnapper who gained international attention by writing best-selling books on death row. There is the tale of intrigue and politics surrounding the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and the violence and horror of the Watts Riots in 1965.

Through the story of the life and times of Pat Brown, we witness an extraordinary period that changed the entire country's view of itself and its most famous state.

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