New to This Edition
Coverage continues through 2010, with new material on political upheavals, the global banking crisis, changes in education and the economy, and California's shifting demographic profile.
The Suggestions for Further Reading have been assembled at book's end and updated to reflect recent scholarship.
The organization of Elusive Eden is unique. Detailed narratives present key issues, from Indian resistance to colonization, to women's experience in the Gold Rush, to the Watts Riots of 1965 and 1992, in the opening chapters of Parts II through IX, followed by two chronological chapters that place the episode discussed in its historical context. The text weaves these important themes into the chronological material through each of the ten parts.
Alongside the stories of European conquerors and well-known political figures are the experiences of lesser-known men and women, the poor and working class, and people of color—Natives, Spaniards and Mexicans, African Americans, and Asians. Because each is integral to the real history of California, their stories are seamlessly integrated throughout the text.
As in previous editions, Elusive Eden emphasizes the geographical and climatic forces that shaped California history. While exploring complexities of environmental history, the text also gives attention to regional issues, moving from the metropolitan areas to the state's rural and desert areas.
Although the text was expanded and updated, through judicious editing the fourth edition is no longer than the third. This edition retains many of the elements that have long made Elusive Eden a favorite among instructors and readers: the sensitivity to race, class, and gender that set the book apart when it first appeared in 1998; the lively, readable text that makes vivid the connections between past and present; the emphasis on the land itself, the deserts, mountains, and shoreline that make California unique; and the Feature Essays, short but colorful narratives that give readers unique insights into California's people and places.